The Corner

Your Stimulus Dollars at Work: New Coburn and McCain Report

Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn issued a 55-page report on stimulus spending that shows that the package included at least $7 billion of wasteful spending. Here is a sampling from this morning’s newspapers:

Politico reports “$4.7 million for Lockheed Martin to study supersonic corporate jet travel,” more than “$210,000 for the National Institutes of Health to study the sex lives of college students,” and “roughly $233,000 for California college students to conduct exit polls in Africa about voting patterns.”

CBS Evening News adds “$221,000 for a study on why young men don’t like condoms, $5 million to provide geothermal heat for a Tennessee mall that’s all but empty, and $950,000 for studying ant behavior at two Arizona universities.”

The Hill notes that “at the top of the GOP list of wasteful projects is a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy to create a geothermal energy system for the Oak Ridge City Center shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The main problem with the project, say Republicans, is the mall has been losing tenants for years and is mostly empty.” The senators “also noted that researchers at Penn State University received $1.57 million to search for fossils in Argentina and that a liberal-leaning theater in Minnesota, In the Heart of the Beast, named after a famous quote by leftist leader Che Guevara, received $100,000 for socially conscious puppet shows.” 

The Hill also reports that “nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, who was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s pollster in the 2008 presidential election.” Federal records “show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.” Burson-Marsteller “won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television.”

The Washington Times explains that “the nearly $1 million in stimulus money being spent to study the division of labor among ants and the $400,000 spent to catalog Buffalo, N.Y., residents’ drinking and drug habits are proof that President Obama’s $787 billion economic recovery program is filled with waste.”

You can find each of these projects, and many more, on Stimulus Watch, and vote for or against them.

So, considering the promises made by the administration and yesterday’s request for more money to “stimuate” the economy, I wonder who will be held accountable for this waste. My first choice: Vice President Biden, because he is supposed to be overseeing the stimulus spending. My second choice: President Obama for promising or beliving that the government could actually spend money without wasting it.

Read the whole report here, and cry, laugh, or both.


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