Wasteful Stimulus Spending

August 5, 2010

- See all 31 of my articles

$862,000,000,000.  That is what $862 billion looks like.  That happens to be the amount of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  We’ve all been concerned as we heard stories about where the money was going.  I did a little poking around and I found these items below:

  • $233 million to UC at San Diego to study why Africans vote.
  • $2 million to build fire station in Nevada but the county couldn’t afford the wages.
  • $550,000 to replace windows in a Washington (state) visitor’s center that had closed in 2007.
  • $1.9 million the California Academy of Sciences to study ants.
  • $800,000 for a Georgia Tech assistant professor to study improved music by “jamming” with world renowned musicians.
  • North Carolina schools received $4.4 million to hire math & literacy coaches FOR THE TEACHERS.
  • $24 million to a contractor currently on trial for bribery
  • $15 million to Boeing which was fined for polluting a creek—they were asked to monitor water quality.
  • $650 million for digital TV coupons
  • $600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
  • $400 million to local governments to purchase hybrid vehicles
  • $9 million to Harvard University to research and assemble robotic bee
  • $428,000 to design better video games for senior citizens

There are so many more reckless and foolish expenditures that I had to quite typing.  I stated to feel carpel tunnel and I was starting scream like the Angry Squirrel.

Pork, pork, pork.

Have you seen those highway signs on your way to work?  You know, the ones that read: “Funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and “Putting America Back to Work”?  I have seen a few of them.  I drive past one on I-25 every morning and every night.  I had no idea that they cost so much though.  ABC News recently reported that Pennsylvania spent $157,000 for 70 of those signs.  That averages $2,242.86 per sign.  I heard an earlier news report that was even higher but I was unable to locate it now.  I also heard a news report that documented a large amount of money was spent to study the mating habits of bees.  However, I was not able to find the particulars.

I’m glad that we have a president that will not sign any bill into law that contains pork.  This is truly the kind of hope and change that people were voting for.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan @ 40Tech
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 09:42:30

    I’m sure there’s plenty of waste to be found, but it is hard to tell from just those blurbs. They’re nice talking points, and maybe we’d be just as outraged when we know all the facts, but they are only talking points for now until somebody digs deeper. This is the typical knee-jerk reaction that both the left and the right love to see, as it confirms how easy it is to get folks up in arms, taking things at face value without really examining them. If we dug deeper, it is quite possible that most of this really is outrageous spending. On the other hand, it is also possible that a little investigation will reveal that that the one sentence dedicated to each item doesn’t do justice to what is going on. For example, there’s lots of scientific research that is very valuable to society, that could be made to look silly if just a snippet of an explanation were given.

    So, I guess my point isn’t about whether waste sucks, but more of a caution that the whole reason we all went to school was so that we’d have critical minds, and put information to the test before hopping on the bandwagon. News media today (as well as both political parties) are too quick to treat us like sheep.


  2. Martin Kelly
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 10:25:53

    One of the items that has be shot out as wasteful was a study to see how the american people precieved the stimulus package!

    We do have to remember that one person’s waste is anothers high minded goal. I noticed that the money to study weather systems on Neptune was not on your list. I personally consider that to be a worth while endevour since I am an astronomy buff. My question is, why is that in a stimulus bill and not in the budget for science? There seems to be alot of spending that is not stimulating and should have been included in other (more related) spending bills.

    Beyond the money, there are a lot of other things in that bill. Recently, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathlene Sabilius (sic) noted that she would have to hire additional staff to handle BMI tracking. The stimulus bill included an item that all health care providers have to measure the BMI of their patients and provide that information to the government. It is all part of the fight against obesity. Again, possibly a good thing (I personally do not like it as an invasion of my privacy) but what has it got to do with recovery and reconstruction?


  3. Squeaky
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 12:41:54

    Hey Boyz…I sent this to Kos and ran out of town for vacation so I couldn’t reply…sorry. I agree Evan, it’s hard to tell a lot from these blurbs. I encourage you to research them. I did a lot of reading last week on this and these little blurbs grow into thorns in my side when I read them. I know there are a lot of big government advocates but some of these would probably even bother them. If you can budget 15-20 minutes into some Google time, check it out.

    Martin, I know. Some people will view this as a golden cow and for others it is just plain worthwhile. For me, each of the items I listed made me sick. Study ants? The reproductive habits of bees? Study why AFRICANS vote? What does the stimulus package have to do with Africa? Ugggg.

    The healthcare reform package was just as bad once all the politicians were able to shove in some pork. We’ll see what comes next.

    Thanks for the comments gentlemen.



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