In 2009, President Obama said that he hoped his election and his decisions would help restore America’s standing in the world. No one could have imagined that one of his decisions would be to spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to create jobs overseas. That’s just what his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” did.
As soon as the Obama administration started funding stimulus projects, hundreds of millions of America’s hard-earned taxpayer dollars started seeping beyond our borders. Money from the president’s failed stimulus law has created jobs and economic growth in England, China, Finland, and many other countries.
For example, in August 2009, President Obama staged a photo-op at an Indiana truck plant. He told the crowd, “I’m here today to announce $2.4 billion in highly competitive grants to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by the next generation of battery technologies all made right here in the U.S. of A.”
Behind him was a new electric truck — built in England. The administration would soon spend $39 million to build more of those English trucks.
One of the English autoworkers who built the truck was grateful. “If he wants to call it American and produce millions of them, let him get on with it,” he told a reporter. “As long as he keeps selling them and Americans keep buying them, we’ll produce as many as you want.”
#more#That’s how it works when Washington starts spending someone else’s money. Sometimes the money slipped away in smaller batches. Like the $2.8 million the Obama administration spent to buy 14,000 “smart” electric meters to be installed in Kansas City, Mo. The meters were built 1,000 miles to the south, in Mexico.
Other times, the amounts were bigger. Even some Democrats complained when it turned out the administration had spent nearly $2 billion in stimulus money on wind-power projects, but almost 80 percent of it went to foreign manufacturers. The money financed an estimated 6,000 jobs overseas.
The Obama administration didn’t limit itself to stimulus dollars. It used other piles of taxpayer money to outsource jobs as well. Hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees went to an electric-car maker that ended up creating jobs in Finland. More went to buy solar panels made in China. Last year, the Obama administration paid a total of almost $29 billion directly to foreign companies.
After three and a half years of President Obama’s failed economic policies, more than 23 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. We’ve had 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent. It’s time for President Obama to finally focus on jobs in America, rather than spending taxpayer dollars for projects in other countries.
— John Barrasso is a U.S. senator from Wyoming.