- The Washington Times - Monday, October 25, 2010

With a week before the midterm elections, Democrats are up to their usual shenanigans. The Obama White House and liberals in Congress are trying to convince taxpayers that more government spending on “sustainable” stuff can put America back to work. More of the same misguided policies won’t deflect the blow that job-conscious voters will deliver at the ballot box on Nov. 2.

Americans are mad about Washington’s spendthrift ways. Jobs that carry the “sustainable” stamp of approval will siphon precious taxpayer resources away from the private sector. It’s simply putting green lipstick on the stimulus pig that has squandered more than a trillion dollars with no positive effect on the jobless rate.

On Thursday, White House officials joined bureaucrats from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to announce grants totaling $409.5 million paid by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Superficially, the concept of “sustainable communities” sounds attractive, as few prefer neighborhoods that are unsustainable. But the damage is in the details. The feds plan to blow taxpayer cash on projects such as liberal-beloved bicycle paths and walking trails that benefit a small number of people rather than liberal-disdained road improvements that move millions in their automobiles.

“These investments represent an unprecedented new way of working together,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Perhaps he meant to say “walking together,” because he frequently insists that Americans are “tired” of motorized transportation and its purported hassles and instead are looking for other commuting options. Some Americans may be enthusiastic about bicycling as a weekend leisure activity, but, realistically, few moms with growing families can trade in their SUVs for bike-powered rickshaws to drive the kids to football practice or dance class.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, waved the pre-election jobs banner last week, touting the Apollo Clean Transportation Manufacturing Plan. He called for $40 billion in federal funds to develop streetcars, other types of rail, new buses and supposedly cleaner freight-movement technologies. The goal is to double public transportation ridership over the next two decades. Mr. Brown claims the expenditure would generate 3.7 million “direct and indirect jobs” over the next six years.

Freedom-loving Americans persistently shun big-government public transportation that herds the masses into glorified cattle cars. That’s because 19th-century transportation ideas - such as streetcars that add congestion to already traffic-clogged city streets - won’t work in the 21st century. Even if there’s a practical route nearby (which is rarely the case), most Americans don’t want to wait in the rain or snow to hop on a bus or choo-choo to get around. Even if inconvenience weren’t an issue, cost is because jobs created by government-generated projects are expensive. The 30,000 jobs that President Obama claimed he “saved or created” with the so-called “100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America” cost taxpayers $253,764 each, according to columnist Deroy Murdock.

Unemployment is stuck around 10 percent, and millions of job seekers are still out on the lam. Squandering taxpayer funds on green projects that help liberals feel good about themselves is exactly what has triggered the Tea Party juggernaut. Many Democrats are about to receive a one-way ticket home on Election Day, and there’s no mystery why.

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