View Full Version : Economics Somebody worked hard for this money...

The Mad Crapper
02-04-2010, 07:40 PM
So the federal government can confiscate it and piss it away:

Federal agencies are spending stimulus money at the rate of $196 million an hour. And they will do so every hour for the next eight months until a September 30, 2010, deadline.

"When you put that kind of money out the door that fast, there's a possibility of $55 billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse connected with it," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday before a Senate Finance Committee hearing examining the lack of oversight in the $878 billion dollar economic stimulus bill passed a year ago.

Grassley said he fears much of the money is going to some individuals and businesses that don't qualify for it and projects that do not serve taxpayers best interests. Judge for yourself:

-- $233,000 to the University of California at San Diego to study why Africans vote. Jobs created: 12, but seven of those are Africans in Africa.

-- In Nevada, $2 million in stimulus money built a new fire station, but because of budget cuts, the county can't afford to hire firefighters to work there.

-- Penn State University got $1.5 million to study plant fossils in Argentina. Of 5 jobs created, 2 belong to Argentines.

-- Researchers the State University of New York at Buffalo got $389,000 to pay 100 Buffalonians $45 each to record how much malt liquor they drink -- and how much pot smoke each day. Consumption is then reported via an automated phone hotline. Cost per job: almost $200,000.

-- The Obama administration is spending $5 billion to weatherize homes. But one Texas county spent $4 million to weatherize just 47 homes. That's $78,000 per house. Each retrofit is supposed to save homeowners $500 a year in energy costs. That means taxpayers will recoup their investment in 156 years, long after the home is probably torn down.

-- Two Arizona universities got almost $1 million dollars so 3 grad students can study how ants work. That's more than $300,000 per job.

-- Companies that raise tropical fish, shellfish, catfish, alligators and even turtles qualify for $50 million in tax money to buy fish food.

-- North Carolina public schools received $4.4 million to hire math and literacy coaches, not for students, but teachers. That's 64 people paid $70,000 each to teach teachers how to teach reading and math.

"We have to know that people at the Office of Management and Budget and the various agencies that are shoveling this money out the door, that they're on top of it," Grassley told Fox News. "And we need transparency and information on all of this."

Senate sources say privately many inspectors general are understaffed and overwhelmed, and mechanisms to stop fraud and disqualify tax cheats, criminals and others aren't always working.

Take the Napa Valley Wine Train. The county received $54 million to build a railroad bridge, relocate a half-mile of track and build a flood wall to protect a wine train passenger station. The no-bid contract went to a minority-owned business operated by an Eskimo tribe outside Anchorage.

The company then hired a real construction company for a fraction of what they were paid by the government to actually do the work. The tribe's CEO has no construction experience. His last business, a Web site for sailors, went bankrupt after spending $13 million in investor money.

"That wine train is sort of the perfect storm of practically all of the things that is wrong with government contracting," said Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight.

Other dubious contracts include:

-- $6 million in stimulus money to a California contractor under federal investigation for overcharging San Diego for cleanup after the 2007 wildfires

-- A Denver developer received $13 million in tax credits to help build a senior housing complex despite being sued as a slumlord for running decrepit, rodent-infested apartment buildings in San Francisco.

-- Kentucky gave $24 million to a contractor on trial on for bribery.

-- An aerospace company received $15 million to monitor water quality in a Ventura County creek it was already fined for polluting.

"What we have is already a broken system. The federal government is just lousy in its contracting. When you add these elements of speed where the contracting officers or the agencies are being pushed to hurry up and get these dollars out and these grants out quickly, all you're doing is making it harder for them to make good choices," said Brian.

Some inspectors general are spending less than one percent of stimulus expenditures on oversight.

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The Mad Crapper
02-04-2010, 07:45 PM
King George was fair and decent compared to the government we have now


The Mad Crapper
03-10-2010, 03:55 PM
The California Teachers Association has spent more than $200 million on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts in the last decade, leading what the Fair Political Practices Commission calls a "billion-dollar club" of moneyed political interests.

The FPPC's report, entitled "Big Money Talks," delves into the 25 biggest - at least in financial terms - political players in the state, which have collectively spent $1.3 billion on political action in the last 10 years.

"This tsunami of special interest spending drowns out the voices of average voters," FPPC chairman Ross Johnson said in a statement, "and intimidates political opponents and elected officials alike."

The $211.9 million spent by the CTA is nearly twice as much as the $107.5 million committed by the second-highest spender, the California State Council of Service Employees, but after those two union groups, the remaining 13 on the Top 15 list are all either business groups, such as No. 3 Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America ($104.9 million), individual corporations or casino-owning Indian tribes, which have three of the 15 top spots.

Collectively, the top 15 spent just over $1 billion during the decade, while the next 10 spent $271 million. They are also a mixture of unions, businesses and Indian tribes.

The report provides details on each big spender's campaign contributions and lobbying expenses, and identifies their spending on ballot measures, which generally consumed far more of the total than contributions to politicians or lobbying expenses. The CTA, for example, directed $144.1 million into ballot measures, including more than $50 million to defeat a series of 2005 measures sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


The full report can be found at the FPPC's website here.