The Calculus (and Politics) of Stimulus
Sen. Tom Coburn is offering a GOP counterpoint to a recent White House report that extolled the early successes of the $787 billion stimulus program.
The White House report focused on 100 projects that administration officials believe demonstrate the wisdom of the massive fast-spending effort to jolt the economy back to health.
Coburn's report essentially says "Wait one minute there, fellas." It's called "A Second Opinion on the Stimulus," and it features 100 projects that the senator and his staff believe show the waste and foolishness of some stimulus spending.
An LA Times story this morning says the report "contends the Obama administration's stimulus program is fraught with waste and incompetence -- evidenced by a turtle crossing in northern Florida that will cost more than $3 million and a snafu in which thousands of Social Security checks went out to people who had died."
"Will these projects make real improvements in the lives of taxpayers and communities or are they simply pet projects of politicians and lobbyists that never got off the ground because they are a low priority?" the report says.
The White House has something to say about all this. We'll add it when they say it. For now, from the earlier report:
"Across America, recovery is under way. From the new State of Maine Ferry to a community health center in Mississippi, from classrooms in Florida to the Willamette River Bridge in Washington -- we are using the Recovery Act to jump-start our economy today, while building a new foundation for the sustained economic growth of tomorrow."
We knew the White House would have something to say. Here's a statement we just received from Ed DeSeve, Senior Advisor to the President for Recovery Act Implementation:
"We have approved more than 20,000 Recovery Act projects to get America's economy moving again. The program is, overall, a great success. With 20,000 projects approved, there are bound to be some mistakes - when we find them, we have been transparent about it, and worked on a bipartisan basis to shut them down immediately. Sen. Coburn's report, however, is filled with inaccuracies, including criticisms of projects that have already been stopped, projects that never were approved, and some projects that are working quite well. If Sen. Coburn has found any problematic projects, we will address them immediately - but much of this seems to be little more than an objection to the Recovery Act itself, which Sen. Coburn opposed."
The baton now passes back to the senator, should he care to grab hold. We'll be standing by.
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