Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How can you call the federal stimulus a boondoggle?

It's not quite up to the standards of Depression-era court-packing, but the Obama administration is getting creative about  the number of congressional districts it claims to have bailed out with manna rained down from heaven fearless leader.
Just how big is the stimulus package? Well for one, it has doubled the size of the House of Representatives, according to recovery.gov, which says that funds were distributed to 440 congressional districts that do not exist.

According to data retrieved from recovery.gov, nearly $6.4 billion was used to “create or save” just under 30,000 jobs in these phantom congressional districts–almost $225,000 per job. The web site operates on an $84 million budget and is tasked with monitoring the distribution of the $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress–which, for the record, counts 435 members–in early 2009.

Among the jurisdictions rescued from economic malaise are, we're told, New Mexico's 22nd Congressional District, and its 40th, 4th, 13th, 16th, 9th, 6th and 25th. That's quite a trick for a state that sends only three seat-warmers to the House of Representatives (but just wait until rattlesnakes win the franchise!).

This comes on the heel of earlier reports that the government's claims of having saved and created scads of new jobs in these tough times through free and easy spending might be just a bit overblown -- or even "wildly exaggerated" if you believe the Boston Globe. Looking at just one state, the Globe reported:
The federal stimulus report for Massachusetts has so many errors, missing data, or estimates instead of actual job counts that it may be impossible to accurately tally how many people have been employed by the massive infusion of federal money. Massachusetts is expected to receive an estimated $1 billion more in stimulus contracts, grants, and loans.

Among the "jobs created" were cost-of-living raises given to 150 existing staffers at the Head Start program. Each lucky raise recipient was counted as a new job created by stimulus money.

And extend those 150 new jobs across 440 newly created congressional districts, and you're talking good times all around!

Well, it's good to know that our tax dollars -- and those of our grandchildren -- aren't being completely wasted.

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