NTU: Summertime Blues

by: Jordan Forbes

Eighteen months ago, Obama enacted his so-called “stimulus,” but what has the plan accomplished aside from stagnant unemployment and reckless spending? And where, exactly, is all that money ($862 billion) going? Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain’s report, “Summertime Blues: 100 stimulus projects to give taxpayers the blues,” highlights some of the silliest and most wasteful abuses of stimulus funds, providing a dismal, albeit accurate, analysis of our current economic landscape and the potential for an even greater downturn in the near future.

Here’s a blurb from the introduction of the Senators’ most recent series report:

“As we detail in this third report in a series, some projects accomplish such questionable goals as putting in new windows at a vacant government building, replacing a new sidewalk with an even newer one, or money for a park that is only accessible by boat or plane. Other projects that appear in the report may have merit, but are being mismanaged or were poorly planned. A biomass power plant was awarded hundreds of thousands of stimulus dollars, but may close in months. The same is true for a rail line to two professional sports stadiums – yet it is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and only ‘shovel ready’ because it was years behind schedule when funding came available. Worst of all, some stimulus projects are actually costing jobs and hurting small businesses. By largely closing off access to local shops to build some of the stimulus projects, some business owners have had to cut staff hours, and let people go.”

Want a few examples of these wasteful projects? No problem!

  • U.S. Forest Service to replace windows in visitor center closed in 2007 (Amboy, WA) – $554,763
  • North Shore Connector to professional sports stadiums and casino (Pittsburgh, PA) – $62 million
  • Grant to Georgia Tech assistant professor of music to study improvised music (Atlanta, GA) – $762,372
  • Let’s see how monkeys respond to inequity and injustice (Atlanta, GA) – $677,462
  • …and to cocaine (Winston-Salem, NC) – $144,541
  • Microchips track citizen use of recycling bins (Dayton, OH) – $500,000

There are many, many more, so be sure to take a look! We all need good reading material for the beach, right?

Reposted from National Taxpayers Union