The Real Deal on Stimulus "Jobs Now"

I have a column at American Issues Project today. Here is an excerpt:

Governor Beverly Perdue recently announced that with every construction project in North Carolina funded by federal stimulus money a sign will be posted saying “Jobs Now.” She said, “That is going to be the logo in North Carolina. We want people to know that we are putting folks back to work.”

In the coming months there will be similar announcements from state and federal officials identifying specific jobs that are being financed by the stimulus funds. Some will bear signs, as in North Carolina, while others will be listed on websites tracking the money.

Brian Balfour of the Civitas Institute asked the following when hearing of the “Jobs Now” project: “It’s easy to see the ‘Jobs Now’ projects of government roads and bridges. But where does that money come from? What use would that money have been put toward if not taken by the government to finance their public works?”

We know that money comes from taxpayers, but there is no definitive way to know where that money would have gone otherwise – if other policies had been in place. How it might have been spent is a matter of speculation, but it’s a pretty safe bet if that money was left in the pockets of taxpayers it would be less likely to end up growing government at the expense of the private sector.

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