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Baltimore’s $1.8 Billion Stimulus Boondoggle Proves Trump Right

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Debunk This by Matt Palumbo

President Donald Trump has come under fire after attacking Baltimore as “far worse and more dangerous” than ICE detention facilities in a rebuke of Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling the city “a disgusting, rate and rodent-infested mess.” “Take your Oversight Committee and go to Baltimore, you’ll learn a lot,” Trump also said.

No shortage of liberal pundits lined up to defend Baltimore, a city that has a higher murder rate than Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador – all countries people are trying to flee by the millions.

While Trump may have merely been trash-talking, there’s unquestionably truth to his claims of corruption in Baltimore. It’s easy to highlight that corruption to those arguing Baltimore is only decaying due to a lack of government money – because former President Barack Obama had already attempted to give them an economic revitalization – and it had failed.

As Obama passed his historic $787 billion stimulus bill after taking office, most wondered where the money would be going. Luckily for them, each state had their own “stimulus tracker” in which you could see where the money was going (and seldom was it anywhere productive). A study back in 2010 found that Maryland was doing the best job of tracking their funds, which at the time totaled $4.7 billion. So that must mean the money was well spent, right?

Of that $4.7 billion, $1.8 billion was allocated specifically for Baltimore. And while the state may have been transparent – that still doesn’t mean the money was spent in a way that generated any noticeable change. According to a breakdown from the Washington Free Beacon:

One of Baltimore’s central ZIP codes, 21201, received the most stimulus funding in the city, a total of $837,955,866. The amount included funding for 276 awards, and the website reports that the spending had created 290 jobs in the fourth quarter in 2013.

That comes out to more than two million dollars per job created.

Of this amount, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to “family”; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.

ZIP code 21202 received $425,170,937, including a $136 million grant to “improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet State academic achievement standards.”

Other Projects included $26.5 million from the Justice Department to combat gang activity and provide community support for at-risk juveniles.

Twenty-nine other ZIP codes listed in Baltimore city received a total of $568,641,684.

While the average state receiving stimulus money received $1,222 per resident, Baltimore received $5,000.

And how did that turn out?

As you already learned, the stimulus couldn’t have been any less efficient at creating jobs (though I’ll grant that this reflects a problem with stimulus spending in general, not just mismanagement in Baltimore). As economist Michael Tanner notes: “There are few better routes out of poverty than a job. Fewer than 3 percent of those working full time live in poverty. Yet Maryland has one of the most anti-business tax and regulatory climates in the nation. And Baltimore adds its own layer of excessive taxes and regulatory bureaucracy.”

Anti-crime initiatives failed spectacularly. As America’s major cities have become more peaceful overall over the past decade, Baltimore has not. Baltimore has nearly three times as many murders per-capita as Chicago.


What about the schools? Stimulus spending aside, Baltimore City Public Schools spends more per-student on education than any other system in the country except for two, with $16,184 spent per student (more than 50% higher than the national average). Despite that, thirteen of Baltimore’s 39 high schools had zero students proficient in math, and six where only one percent test proficient. Put in other words, in half of all Baltimore high schools, there were a total of fourteen students proficient in math.

And as people who can afford to do, they are voting with their feet.

In the 12 months leading up to July 1st of this year, Baltimore lost 7,300 citizens or 1.2% of its entire population. The city also lost an entire percent of its population in the two individual years prior.

President Trump described the city as a place where no human would want to live – and the city’s dwindling population count proves as much.

Photos by Getty Images

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