Liberal blogs were out over the weekend trying to stoke stories of Mitt Romney’s campaign appearance at Red Rocks, a Colorado landmark built as part of the New Deal in 1941.
That’s right, folks–Red Rocks Amphitheatre was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Red Rocks was a “New Deal” employment project of theWorks Progress Administration (WPA).
Think about it: hundreds of men put to work by the government for five years to build…a concert hall? So Dodge Trucks–another recipient of taxpayer bailout dollars (!)–could sponsor the Red Rocks Summer Concert Seriesall these years later? Seriously, folks, is there a self-respecting modern-day Republican out there who would not have instinctively called the idea of using taxpayer dollars to build Red Rocks Amphitheatre a “boondoggle?”
The Denver Post being The Denver Post, they jumped on the theme this morning, drawing parallels between FDR’s jobs initiative way back when and President Obama’s failed stimulus in 2009. The implication in the Post story is more subtle than that of the liberal blogs, but it is still there…Romney is a hypocrite for campaigning at this New Deal icon.
But Red Rocks is an example of a time when government did create jobs — millions of them, as part of Depression-era New Deal employment programs. Hundreds of those workers took the natural amphitheater at Red Rocks and built it into the functioning venue it is today.
Across the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s, government-funded workers built roads, bridges, airports, sewer systems, schools and other government buildings. Critics argued — and still do — that the jobs were unsustainable and that the tax rates that paid for the work did more harm than good. But President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 vowed, “We will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment.”
As the great philosopher Iceman said in Top Gun, “Bull-cough-cough-sh_t.”
The problem with comparing Red Rocks to Obama’s stimulus spending is that Obama spent very little of his stimulus loot on infrastructure…specifically, only 3%.
Instead of spending stimulus dough on enduring things like roads, power plants, dams, and amphitheaters, President Obama spent most of his cash on stuff…stuff like Solyndra.
Seventy-five years after the New Deal, there is still a lot to show for that program, including Red Rocks. Four years after Obama’s stimulus, the biggest thing we have to show for the whole exercise is about $1 trillion in new debt and the boarded up buildings of bankrupted enterprises with names like Solyndra and Abound.
Liberals want to compare Red Rocks to stimulus? Ok. Let’s compare away.
Red Rocks Ampitheatre cost $54,133 when the city bought the land from a private owner. The feds kicked in the balance of the cash to finish its construction. And 73 years later, it is still open.
Solyndra? It cost the taxpayers an estimated $500 million, only to be bankrupt and boarded-up within months. In fact, the last “concert” that Solyndra played host to was a little press conference featuring none other than Mitt Romney, who stood in front of the empty building to make a point…not only did Obama borrow all that stimulus money for future generations, he borrowed it, then wasted it on stuff like Solyndra.
We have no expectation that The Denver Post would ever connect these dots. So let us.
Red Rocks, 73 years after a $50,000 investment, open. Nice job FDR.
Solyndra, months after a $500 million defaulted loan, closed. Bad boy BHO.
Maybe, in the final analysis, that is the most important difference between the New Deal and the failed stimulus. While FDR used the New Deal to pick economic winners and losers, as Mr. Romney explained at the DU debate earlier this fall, President Obama’s stimulus seemed more apt at picking losers and losers.
Still can’t figure out the difference between the New Deal and the failed stimulus?
Red Rocks is still open and Solyndra is already closed.