Enough With the Low-Tech Boondoggles; "Tech firms eager to gobble stimulus funds"


Remember the quaint, good ol' Amurrican past, that Norman Rockwell world where graft and government bucks were shoveled at farmers, railroads, and local ward bosses who smoked cigars and wore pocket watches? Time and progress march on relentlessly into a future so bright you gotta wear shades. USA Today reports on the coming boom in high-tech payola in a story simply titled, "Tech firms eager to gobble stimulus funds":

[The $787 billion stimulus package] allocates tens of billions of dollars for tech upgrades to energy ($4.5 billion for smart grids), health care ($20 billion for electronic medical records), broadband deployment and education.

The dizzying amounts have tech giants jockeying to land government contracts, the first expected to be awarded in the next few weeks. IBM (IBM), General Electric (GE), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Intel (INTC) and some well-positioned start-ups are among suitors poised to capitalize.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal," says Sean Maloney, chief sales and marketing officer at Intel, which is working on broadband projects with governments in the U.S., Japan, Vietnam and others. "This dwarfs the Marshall Plan and the New Deal. It is unimaginably large, and will never happen again."

IBM, Cisco, GE, and Intel are among the companies expected to snag beaucoup bucks in the more than $100 billion in tech spending the stimulus is expected to generate over the next five years.

Whole story here.

To get a sense of how much bullshit spending is in this part of the stimulus, consider the $7.2 billion going to "broadband deployment." As of January 2008, over 95 percent of American workers who connect to the Intertubes at work did so via broadband. Billions of dollars have been spent wiring K-12 schools and public libraries across this sweet land of liberty; if they are not connected by now, they're never going to be. Somewhere between 90 percent and 94 percent of U.S. households that are active Internet users have broadband connections. And as hard as it might be for those of us who live and die online to understand, some people don't want high-speed connectivity. Especially when one considers that the same cable, satellite, and phone companies that service effectively 100 percent of U.S. households are already offering such services. This is, in other words, money to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Multiply that ugly dynamic throughout the rest of the tech stimulus spending and you can start to grok the waste and misdirected resources inherent throughout the stimulus bill.