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Thursday, July 09, 2009

More Stimulus Money Doled Out To Obama Supporters?

USA Today offers a report which is alarming on the surface, showing that counties that supported Barack Obama or as the White House spells it, Barak Obama, have received substantially more "stimulus" monies, per person, than counties that supported John McCain.

Counties that supported Obama last year have reaped twice as much money per person from the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package as those that voted for his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, a USA TODAY analysis of government disclosure and accounting records shows. That money includes aid to repair military bases, improve public housing and help students pay for college.

The reports show the 872 counties that supported Obama received about $69 per person, on average. The 2,234 that supported McCain received about $34.

Now, the White House denies that politics has anything to do with how the monies are doled out and Adam Hughes, the director of federal fiscal policy for the non-profit OMB Watch, says that it is almost "inconceivable" that the Obama administration could possibly be tinkering with how the funds are divided up.

Jake Wiens, an investigator with the non-profit Project on Government Oversight states that it is too soon to draw any conclusions but that "it will be important to pay close attention as the data come in to ensure that political favoritism plays no role."

Fair enough and I happen to agree. Until all the stimulus monies are spent, no one can really judge.

So, this brings us to how the so called stimulus money is being spent and if it is being used as intended and we find out it is not.

Another article from USA Today:

Under pressure to spend stimulus money quickly, many states are using the federal funds for short-term projects and to fill budget gaps rather than spending on long-term improvements, according to a report by congressional investigators.

The report, scheduled to be released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at a House oversight hearing, also says many states aren't meeting some goals and requirements of the economic recovery program. Some states, for example, are not sending transportation funding to the most economically distressed areas, and they are using education funds to prevent layoffs rather than fund innovative new programs, the report says.

As required by the $787 billion stimulus law, the GAO is monitoring stimulus spending in 16 states and the District of Columbia that will receive two-thirds of the federal funds. It reports to Congress every two months.

The report says that as of mid-June, states had received about $29 billion of the estimated $49 billion in stimulus funding they are scheduled to get before the federal budget year ends Sept. 30. More than 90% of the money given to the states so far is for Medicaid and a fund meant to prop up states' budgets for schools and other basic services such as public safety.

In the meantime, the NYT reports that more doubts are arising about Obama's whole spending more to save more plan as unemployment continues to rise as well.

With unemployment already at 9.5 percent and likely to exceed 10 percent, much higher than White House officials predicted back in February, Mr. Obama has been facing attacks that his $787 billion stimulus program was either too timid or wrong-headed or both. Now, just five months after Congress agreed on the plan, with only a fraction of the money actually out the door, Washington is debating the need for a second round of stimulus amid economic and political crosscurrents.

In Ohio, where unemployment is above 10 percent and where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will visit on Thursday, Mr. Obama’s popularity has dropped sharply. In a poll by Quinnipiac University earlier this week, 48 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, while 46 percent approved, down 11 percentage points since May.

For the final thought, showing Obama will get the last laugh, while unemployment is rising, while the funds from the stimulus sham are not being use as intended and while politicians are considering yet another round of stimulus arguments to throw good money after bad, the White House, led by Barack Obama is going to spend $18 million dollars, just a drop in the bucket compared to the billions he is pricing tax payers with for everything else on his agenda, to redesign the Web site.

The contract calls for spending $9.5 million through January, and as much as $18 million through 2014, according to the GSA press release.

“We are pleased that another major milestone has been achieved," Earl E. Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, says in the press release. “We thank the GSA for its assistance and look forward to working with Smartronix."

I wonder how many people reading this could use just a tiny, little fraction of that $18 million to pay all their debts off.

Instead, they are paying for the website to be redesigned.

How is that for ironic?