In February 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or Stimulus Bill. The $787 billion spending package was sold to the public as the necessary means to revive an economy on the verge of collapse, create millions of new jobs, and keep unemployment from rising above eight percent.
More than three years later, national unemployment is still at 8.2%, unemployment in Nassau and Suffolk Counties is at 7.1%, and according to the annual Long Island Economic Survey and Opinion Poll, 61% of Long Island respondents think we are headed for a double dip recession.
Congressman Steve Israel voted for the stimulus bill, and in a press release dated February 22, 2009 stated of its passing: “With our local businesses, research institutions, and governments leading the way, we can create thousands of new green jobs.”
According to the Federal Government website Recovery.gov, just over $430 million stimulus dollars were spent in the district, but only 181 jobs were created. The town of Dix Hills alone, where Congressman Israel lived at the time, received more than $25 million stimulus dollars, but only four jobs were created. The economically disadvantaged community of Brentwood received $28 million and zero jobs were created. Hauppauge, home to a large industrial base and Congressman Israel’s office, received over $35 million with five jobs created.
These numbers are downright scandalous. Long Islanders were promised by President Obama and Congressman Israel that the Stimulus Bill would revitalize the local economy, and put people back to work. Sadly, millions of dollars were spent, with no meaningful improvement in the lives of our citizens. The people of Long Island deserve an explanation from their elected Representative in Congress as to where these “thousands of new green jobs” went.
Pumping money into big government spending programs has not and will not solve our economic woes. Look no further than the failure of the stimulus to live up to its many promises as evidence of this. What we need is private sector stimulus to increase domestic investment and create high-quality jobs.
As your Congressman, I will spend my first 100 days in office introducing legislation that will incentivize private sector stimulus in the United States. For years, businesses have been stockpiling profits to the tune of $1.3 trillion in foreign countries to avoid the crippling tax rates of the United States.
It’s time to bring that money back home by offering a one time tax holiday to corporations that repatriate offshore funds. In addition, I propose lowering the corporate tax rate so businesses will be encouraged to invest their profits in the United States and not seek offshore tax havens.
We tried the Obama/Israel economic stimulus plan in 2009. All we got was wasteful spending, and limited job creation. It’s time to shift course, and give the private sector incentives, which will generate growth and create jobs.