Economics

Your Stimulus Dollars at Work: Being Misspent!, Sez GAO

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USA Today reports that "States aren't using stimulus funds as intended":

The stimulus law requires states to give priority to transportation projects in economically distressed areas. But because states needed to choose projects quickly, many either didn't consider distressed areas until late in the planning process or used their own criteria rather than the federal requirements, the GAO found.

For example, 21 Illinois counties identified as economically distressed "would not have been so classified following the act's criteria," the report says.

Nearly half of the $15.9 billion worth of transportation projects underway nationwide are for resurfacing or other pavement improvements, and an additional 17% are for widening existing roads, the report says. That's because paving projects can start quickly and don't usually require time-consuming environmental studies, the report says.

No sweat! They'll get it right the second time! Says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on the desperate need for a second stimulus now that about 10 percent to 15 percent of the original has been spent:

"I think that it is probably needed. We're going to need to have some further discussion. It will probably take place towards the end of the year and we want to take a look at the economic conditions at the time. But it certainly should be on the table at this point."

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  1. Stimulus Bill Passers –
    Minorities and women hardest hit.

  2. [insert exclamation of shocked disbelief]

  3. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…….??

  4. Stimulus II: Electric Boogoloo
    (this time it’s for the poor folk)

  5. “It will probably take place towards the end of the year and we want to take a look at the economic conditions at the time. But it certainly should be on the table at this point.”

    Well, yeah. They need to have the bill written and on the table now so that everybody can read it by the end of the year when they’ll pass it, right?

  6. I wish elections were every year. The ads get tedious but the money is to die for.

  7. I know I’m not alone here, but I just want to brag:

    “… Of course maybe that will make you think that then the stimulus could have worked (and maybe still will) if it was all spent immediately, infusing the wider economy with a huge injection of cash just when it “needed” it most. Now, that is still quite untrue for all of the fine reasons my Austrian economist pals have been saying forever, but the reality is, all economic theory aside, we have the stimulus as it is. We can’t very well go back in time now and make it work faster and given the lightening speed at which it’s taken hold already, I’m not sure it’s even remotely possible to get it to “work” faster. But this means that whatever the Government/Fed’s intentions were in boosting “aggregate demand”, and whatever insane Keynesian “multiplier” they expected to get out of that, their “boost” can’t even possibly work for at least 2-3 years, even if it was based on sound reasoning and historical experience… which it isn’t.

    In the meantime, unemployment skyrockets and “aggregate spending” decreases even further, so whatever their original predictions were, things will keep getting worse and worse and thus the predictions will be further and further away from reality – which in their minds surely will mean that next year, as things are much worse than they’d predicted or anticipated (purely because they’re all morons apparently), they will need to “stimulate” even more!”

    My own blog: June 3rd

    Technically, I think my timing will be pretty close since I’m predicting serious 2nd stimulus talk or a bill by the end of the year/early next year. But things are happening quicker than I anticipated so who knows!

  8. Jeez! What’s with my state being in the news on Reason all of a sudden. First this, next the murderers proved innocent and then LaHood being a moron. I bet next article is about Illinois’ budget and how it is a lame attempt at being California.

    Seasteading is starting to look better every day.

  9. USA Today reports that “States aren’t using stimulus funds as intended”

    Next unnecessarily obvious headline…

  10. I just drove I-70 through Colorado…. I don’t see how the proudly advertised “Brought to you by the American Recovery and Community Revitalization Act” section between Denver and Vail could possible qualify as an “economically distressed area.”

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