Wasteful Stimulus Spends $7 Million Per Household to Get Montana Residents Broadband Access

The $800 billion stimulus package was stupefyingly wasteful and destructive. As Nick Schultz notes in Forbes, to get unserved households “broadband access,” the federal government spent “a whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself … the cost of extending access in the Montana case comes to about $7 million for each additional household served.”

But, hey, we had to pass the stimulus package. After all, President Obama said that if we didn’t, America would suffer an “irreversible decline.” Obama cited Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claims that the stimulus package would save jobs in the short run, while ignoring the CBO’s own finding that the stimulus will actually shrink the economy over the long run, by exploding the national debt and crowding out private investment.

As wasteful as the stimulus’s broadband subsidies were, they weren’t as harmful as some other stimulus provisions. Other stimulus package provisions inadvertently had the effect of outsourcing American jobs and reducing U.S. exports.  A May 2011 study by economists Bill Dupor and Timothy Conley found that the stimulus wiped out 550,000 jobs.