Naturally I’m talking about the $800 billion + Obama “stimulus.” Grover Norquist and Trent Lott Jr. did the math, and their results are anything but surprising to anyone who has followed the story from the beginning:
[H]eavily Democratic states with lower poverty rates, lower unemployment rates, lower bankruptcy rates, and lower foreclosure rates received most of President Barack Obama’s $825 billion Stimulus.
Put another way, Stimulus money went to precisely the states that needed it the least but were more politically connected to the Democratic Party.
As Norquist and Lott’s data reveal:
“There is a perverse pattern: The states hardest hit by the recession received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure, and unemployment rates got less money. And higher-income states received more. Obama may have claimed that he was motivated to help out those in the toughest shape, but it looks more likely that Democrats were more interested in helping their supporters.”
In Debacle, Norquist and Lott catalog the stunning degree to which Stimulus funds were allocated to the very states that needed them least. For example, richer states got more, not less, Stimulus money. For every additional $1,000 in a state’s per-capita income a state received an average $86 more per capita in Stimulus money.
Furthermore, states with high foreclosure rates got less, not more, money. Specifically, for every percentage point increase in a state’s foreclosure rate, a state received $217 less per person.
The amounts given to states ranged widely. For example, while Florida only received $553 per capita, the District of Columbia walked away with $3,745 per capita.
Partisan politics aside, there is another explanation for how stimulus funds were distributed. As I have blogged earlier, the majority of stimulus money went straight to state and local government entities, or to private contractors who were already either performing a significant amount of government contract work, or receiving hefty government grants or subsidies. State and local governments that spend profusely and regularly supplement their spending with Federal government money tend to be run by Democrat-led administrations. And corporations that do a significant amount of government business are usually the first in line with lobbying money and corporate donations to election funds. Money spent on politics pays itself back very well, and Democrats raked in the lion’s share of corporate donations during the 2008 election year.
We also know that another significant portion of the stimulus went to “campaign commitments” including billions in loans and subsidies for green energy programs, the majority of which have failed. And then there is plain old pork barrel spending, courtesy of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who loaded up the bill with billions more in funding for programs that would have never made it past a GOP-led congress or a Republican White House.
In other words, the research of Norquist and Lott has provided even more evidence that the Obama ‘stimulus’ was really a massively expensive subsidy program, primarily financed by debt, which failed to stimulate anything except the bank accounts of primarily Democratic political interests. Well played, Mr. President, well played.