Monday, June 15, 2009

Who Put the "Less" in "Stimulus"?

The L. A. Times, no tool of the shrunken right-wing conspiracy, is out with a report questioning just how much stimulating is going on, in Some projects raise question: Where's the stimulus?

As President Obama moves to accelerate the flow of federal funds intended to rev up the economy and energy efficiency, public officials are voicing concerns about the merit of some plans.

Here are some gory details.

1) From Joe Biden this month:

"There are going to be mistakes made. . . . We know some of this money is going to be wasted." . . .

2) In Minneapolis, the City Council voted recently to spend $2 million in stimulus funds on a vacant 99-year-old theater that developers want to convert into a center for dance. The project would create about 48 permanent jobs, city documents indicate.

In the competition for the limited stimulus money, the council awarded less than $300,000 to a company that wants to open a solar-energy-panel manufacturing plant that would create 360 jobs by 2011, according to city records.

Because the solar plant didn't get more funding, its chief executive officer, Joel Cannon, said he wouldn't be able to open the plant in Minneapolis. . .

3) Oklahoma officials were stunned to see the $1.1-million guardrail project offered up by the Army Corps of Engineers as a candidate for stimulus money. With so many other pressing needs, spending money in a desolate area showing no signs of a comeback is indefensible, they said.

"They're not mowing the weeds, which are 2 or 3 feet tall," said Ted Graham, city manager in nearby Guymon, Okla. "They quit maintaining the lake in the park, so it would be a frustration if they spend a million dollars on a guardrail they don't maintain currently."

A spokesman for the corps said that repairing the guardrail with stimulus money was one of several options under consideration. "The guardrail is deficient, broken and needs repairs," said Ross Adkins, spokesman for the corps' Tulsa district.

He conceded that the guardrail is within an area that "has pretty much been abandoned."

"There's no water there, no recreation to speak of. There's nothing there to attract people," Adkins said.

Is that last quote a metaphor for most of the "stimulus" program itself?

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009

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