There's no denying saunas can be stimulating. But stimulus dollars for saunas? Sadly, but not surprisingly, our tax dollars are now being used to build saunas. So if you know one of the millions of people of Scandinavian descent lucky enough to work in the sauna industry, rest easy. The government is committed to saving their jobs. This, according to the recovery.gov website:
ROCKWOOD GENERAL CONTRACTORS INCORPORATED
57 3404::TAS RECOVERY -- KRSM050144 - REPAIR MENS AND WOMENS LOCKER ROOMS, BASE GYM, B- 520, HILL AFB UT. REPAIR WOMEN'S AND MEN'S LOCKER ROOMS IN BLDG 520; PROVIDE AND INSTALL A NEW HEATING UNIT, DOOR, LIGHTS, WALLS, AND BENCHES IN THE MEN'S SAUNA; PROVIDE AND INSTALL A NEW SAUNA IN THE WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM,
It's true these saunas are for the air force, and I'm usually the last person to criticize our troops. After all, we all want to provide the men and women who serve this country with world class amenities. But Hill Air Force Base just built a brand new, state-of-the-art recreation center with a rock climbing wall, a child care center, and saunas in 2006. That was less than three years ago. Spending three-quarters of a million of taxpayer dollars during a recession for more hot rocks seems frivolous to say the least. Besides, without world class models like Svetlana, pictured above, what's the point? And why not request this in an appropriations bill? It's hardly a project that will create many jobs, the supposed aim of the stimulus.
Not that it matters. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (i.e. the stimulus bill) is a boondoggle that commits money to all sorts of pet projects that have nothing to do with jobs, which is one reason why unemployment is about to reach 10% nationally (and could hit 15% in some states).
While the Democrats have been busy "stimulating our economy" with such frivolous investments as hiking paths, frisbee golf courses, turtle tunnels, and yes, even saunas, the rest of the world that didn't follow our lead into debt is climbing out of the global recession. Asia just experienced their best month of retail sales in 14 months. Australia and Germany are looking at robust GDP growth for the second straight quarter. In the meantime, our economy remains stagnant, burdened by increasing and unsustainable debt. In fact, a new report shows that America will soon have the seventh highest amount of debt relative to GDP of any nation. Turns out Obama does believe in making us exceptional at something after all. Look out, Zimbabwe, we're gaining on you!
Everyone but the Sheila Jackson Lees of the Democratic party know that Cash for Clunkers was an abysmal failure, triggering an artificial boost in auto sales at the expense of long-term, market adjusted growth. Witness the 23% decrease in car sales the month after the program ended, not to mention all the other retail businesses that lost out on August customers while everyone was encouraged to buy tiny Japanese cars. And we all know what a boost selling tiny Japanese cars does for America.
But that's chump change compared to the Democrats' stimulus bill. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is basically a trillion dollar Cash for Clunkers, an attempt to spend our way out of too much spending. As a result, the private sector has shrunk at the expense of Big Government. Companies with long term viability and a solid foundation of capital are suddenly losing out to failing companies on the receiving end of bailouts or those with close political ties. As the anemic results of the stimulus trickle in, we see profitable companies facing increased regulation and higher taxes to prop up companies that have an "in" with the feds. The companies being propped up by stimulus money are draining resources away from those who can compete on their own merits.
This country was founded as a meritocracy, but it is quickly becoming an Obamacracy, where the government, and in particular the Left, picks winners and losers. ACORN, for instance, received a million dollar grant for fire prevention awareness, beating out actual fire stations. Many recipients of stimulus dollars have received contracts based merely on their skin color. These minority-owned businesses may not offer the best services or the lowest bids, but the government awards them cash based on laws that require "diversity." Rockwood Contractors is one such company, located in California, but being awarded the sauna contracts in Utah, not to mention construction projects at air force bases in North Dakota and Texas.
Diversity is hardly a worthwhile goal if we have to inhibit the liberties of others to achieve it, if we punish successful proprietors to support the ones we feel have the right "cosmetic look". Diversity shouldn't override freedom. In fact, real diversity can only be attained as a result of freedom. That's what Martin Luther King argued for in his "I have a dream speech" - that one day we would all be free. The diversity that matters is a diversity of ideas and political philosophies, freedom for all men. In other words, the exact opposite of the Left's smear campaign against Rush Limbaugh. But more on that in my next post.
In the meantime, I did some research online and discovered a way to save hundreds of thousands of dollars at Hill Air Force Base. If you call now they'll even throw in an extra belt for free:
Sauna photo compliments of Rule 5 (How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog)