- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package was supposed to create jobs, but the results are hardly a success.

If any place should have seen a noticeable jobs increase, it is the District of Columbia, which was by far the biggest stimulus money winner. By June 30, the District had been given the most stimulus funds per person at $3,712. No state is even close. It is more than twice the $1,545 that Alaska received and more than 5 times the average of $717 per person for the 50 states.

Administration officials first claimed that the stimulus would start showing results “within weeks” of being passed. They now say that the benefits won’t be felt until more cash is spent next year. If so, with so much money going to the District, the capital city might show what the future will look like for the rest of the country. Indeed, with 25 percent of the stimulus funds already allocated, the District has received more stimulus money per capita than the average state can hope to receive.

There’s no evidence the deluge of greenbacks is helping much. Unemployment in the District rose from 9.3 to 10.9 percent from January to June, an increase of 1.6 percentage points. This is only slightly less than the national jobless increase of 1.9 percentage points for the same period.

Looking across the states, there is no evidence that stimulus money has helped stave off increased unemployment. Increases in unemployment ranged from a high of 3.9 percent in West Virginia to no change in North Dakota. West Virginia’s jobless situation is dire despite the fact that the Mountain State ranked 16th in per capita stimulus spending.

Overall employment in the District fell by 2,000 jobs from June 2008 to June 2009. Although the city got many more transportation dollars per road mile or per capita than any state, the number of construction jobs in the District fell. There were also fewer jobs in transportation, financial services and professional and business services. The growth areas were government, education and health, and leisure.

That isn’t very stimulating.

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