Saturday, February 20, 2010

All those stimulus dollars: where are they going?

I was astonished, dismayed, and pleased to find an article that talked about where all the federal economic "stimulus" dollars are going.

Any surprise?

Proportionately, Washington, DC, is swimming in dough. It's having one of its best years ever.

First, in case you didn't know, the government is being at least somewhat transparent about its shenanigans. Check out As someone said, "If this is the stuff they're willing to talk about, I'd hate to know what they're hiding!"

But the data is pretty raw.

So then I found out about the nonprofit investigative news outlet ProPublica. It has organized and reported the "stimulus"/"recovery" data per capita by state and county as of December 2009.

Very interesting.

In most states, the numbers aren't particularly remarkable. Thirty-five states are in the upper hundreds of dollars per person, most between $700 and $900 a person. Though Florida is at the bottom, with just under $650 per person. (Interesting, however, Florida is tied with Kentucky for 8th worst unemployment in the country (as of October last year)!)

There are 15 states with more than $1,000 per person in stimulus spending. One of those received well over $2,000 per person.

Guess which one?

Alaska! ($2,147.27 per capita.)

And then . . . there is Washington, DC.

$5,276.84 per capita in stimulus spending.

Poor Washington, DC!

As the guy who brought this to my attention commented, "The bureaucrats aren't helping the average American; they're feeding themselves from the taxpayer trough."

While we're on the subject, perhaps I should mention payscales. USA Today reports that "[f]ederal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% . . . during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted. . . ."
Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.
And the federal government dares to wag its fingers at the banks?

Look at this: The average employee of the federal government makes $71,206. And in the private sector? $40,331.

Do we really need government employees to be paid so much so they can serve us so . . . ahem! . . . poorly?

As the same guy who brought these things to my attention commented, concerning a trip he took out of Bozeman, MT (the third largest city in Montana; the metropolitan area population is less than 100,000; the entire state has a population of slightly less than a million!):
I watched 14 Transportation Security Agency (TSA) workers stand around at the security gates to process a plane of only 40 or so passengers. . . .

For my flight, three ladies stood at the gate entrance. One checked my driver's license, while talking loudly to the other two next to her about the weekend. I'm certain I could have handed her someone else's library card and gotten through.

Next up was the guy at the front of the conveyor belt. He was pushing the plastic bins down the belt and into the chemical/electronic detector, repeatedly saying: "Are your liquids and gels out?"

What a farce! I've walked on board with mouthwash and juice bottles accidentally stuffed in jacket pockets or carry-on bag pouches.

We're paying these people to sit around and do nothing. It's embarrassing that anyone thinks this group can protect us from anything.


--For another take on the stimulus programs, see Do Direct Stimulus Jobs Really Cost $533,000 Apiece?!
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