Say, How's That New, New Deal Working Out?

In May of 2008, months before the economic crisis that catapulted Barack Obama and his crony socialism to the White House occurred, and the presidential race was still very much in flux, I linked to this quote from (now fortunately defeated) Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski:

“All we’re doing is going into the basket and saying, ‘Damn, what did they do in ’32, what did they do in ’34, what did they do in ’36,’ and we’re pulling them out, dusting them off, giving them a paint job, correcting the fenders a bit, and we’re using them,” Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) said. “To get us through the horrendous problems we may have over the next several years, we’ve got to make these old programs work, and we’ve got to be as inventive as hell.”

So, how's that bridge to the 1930s coming? Well, let's just say it has a lot of potholes, and they're not going away anytime soon.  Flash-forward to 2012 and James O'Keefe's latest 60 Minutes-style video sting:

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas then takes this newly-created non-existent company – a company dedicated to digging and filling holes – and asks for help from local union bosses to move subsidies for Earth Supply and Renewal through legislatures. After all, they argue, even if we’re just digging ditches and refilling them on the taxpayer dime, at least we’re creating new union workers.

And, unbelievably, the union bosses are only too happy to help. They couldn’t care less about wasting taxpayer dollars. And that’s precisely what they say.

John Hutchings, director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) New York State Laborers’ Organizing Fund (NYSLOF), explains:

Right now it’s all about jobs. It’s awful hard for anybody to vote against like a jobs bill right now …

He agrees that even if there are sites where this ditch digging and filling has no environmental program, legislators will decide, “it’s a jobs program for the laborers.” And when some of the Earth Supply and Renewal “employees” explain that they literally dig a ditch, then fill it up again, Hutchings says, “It sounds like, it almost is exactly the same as where we were with Green Jobs, Green New York.” Green Jobs, Green New York was a $112 million state plan that was designed to create environmentally-friendly jobs. And it was sponsored, in large part, by unions.

Anthony J. Tocci, business manager of the Local 601 for LIUNA AFL-CIO, goes even further. He says that he’d be willing to help find public funds just to dig and fill ditches:

Hey, if people are willing to give you money, if people will give you the money, that’s fine.

And Hutchings adds:

You know, the Green Jobs, Green New York, between us, a lot of it is bullshit… even if it’s bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that’s not bull, you know what I mean?

Tocci and Hutchings say that this is just the sort of stuff that happened under FDR in the 1930s with the Works Progress Administration. “They dug the roads up, put ‘em back!” says an animated Tocci.

Says Tocci, “You just wanna get the money. Then you figure out afterward.”

Hutchings then explains the economic theory behind all of this:

Well, I think, I think the key thing is, even if it’s bullshit, I think as long as people are working, that’s not bull, you know what I mean? Then you’re doing a service. If there are people working, there are people paying taxes, there are people paying goods, there are, you know what I mean… You’re doing right by the economy… anything that brings work into a community is a plus…

And, of course, the union benefits. Says Hutchings, “It’s a win-win for everybody. Everybody understands that part of it.” Especially the unions, who will be including “employees” of Earth Supply and Renewal in their collective bargaining from now on.

It's the broken window fallacy trapped in a Mobius Loop.

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