Denver's stimulus spending created 1.2 jobs for every million dollars spent.

Denver's Auditor reported on the city's stimulus spending. Through the end of 2011, Denver had “received over $82 million in grant allocations….” Auditor Gallagher carefully says the Democrat-supported ARRA law was supposed “to stimulate the U.S. Economy.” Most Americans thought it was supposed to create jobs.

The Denver Post headlines the “tangible, positive, long-term impact” of this $82 Million.

Here's some information that wasn't part of the headline. The report has comparative, detailed data on $48.2 Million of their $82 Million total; see the table below (from page 30 ff). The jobs creation numbers are based on money actually spent and don't include cash still unspent. A cautionary note: Beyond the “direct” jobs listed, there may be additional jobs through other factors.

  • Entity                  Award             Spent          Jobs  Jobs/ $Million
  • Airport Projects    $7,000,000     $7,000,000        0     0.0
  • Airport Projects    $4,489,921     $4,380,898        0     0.0
  • Justice Assist       $2,789,418     $1,103,382     8.58   7.8
  • CDBG                  $2,462,903     $2,244,532     0.44    0.2
  • Energy Eff Grant    $6,079,500    $3,769,265     8.24    2.2
  • Head Start           $487,662        $487,662         0      0.0
  • Head Start           $1,224,000     $778,830      10.48   13.5
  • Homeless             $3,769,259     $3,488,887     2.98    0.9
  • Clean Diesel         $700,000        $700,000          0      0.0
  • Natl Endow Arts    $250,000       $250,000         0.18    0.7
  • Neighborhd Stabil  $18,994,444   $10,440,843   11.22    1.1
  • SUM                    $48,247,107  $34,644,299    42.12    1.2

Perhaps some of these programs have merit … although it's hard to gin up enthusiasm for the National Endowment for the Arts or to think that DIA required federal cash for truly needed fix-ups.

Did we really need to use stimulus bucks to buy about 300 computers (page 14 of the report) or buy light bulbs (page 14)? Neighborhood Stabilization involved buying foreclosed properties; were there no private sector buyers out there (page 15)?

“Green certification training” sounds swell (page 16) until you learn this was really a $3.6 Million grant to Obama's labor union contributors and they trained 139 people. The report admits that “lasting effects have yet to be measured and documented.” A smart admission since Xcel's plan to “cut financial incentives” is “absolutely devastating” to solar jobs according to the executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association.

What we see in this report is the triumph of the world view that government is the best job creator. Did it work for Denver?

From April 2007 to April 2012 Denver lost 2.7% of its jobs (down 8,259 according to the state Labor Department's LMI data). Over the same time period, all of Colorado lost 1.4% of its jobs (down 33,200). So Denver's stimulus cash gave them no advantage.

Break the state numbers down, and you see who really benefited from all the flurry of government spending. At all levels statewide, government jobs increased by 21,700 while private sector jobs dropped 54,900.

The Obama plan, supported by every Colorado Democrat in Congress, really worked: government grew while private business suffered – and private sector jobs vanished.