Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stimulus waste: 15 notable sinkholes

Today is the unhappy anniversary of the passage of the Democrats' $862 billion economic stimulus bill boondoggle. The Senate Republican Communications Center has compiled a list of 15--and I know of many more--wasteful stimulus projects.

Stimulus Anniversary "Gifts" To Taxpayers

One Year Of Spending Taxpayer Dollars Studying Malt Liquor And Marijuana, Researching Drunk Mice, Funding Martini Bars And Steakhouses, And Examining Facebook

1. $100,000 IN STIMULUS FUNDS USED FOR A MARTINI BAR & BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE:
SHERYL ATKINSON, CBS News: "You probably wouldn't guess that a martini bar and a Brazilian steakhouse would be on tap for stimulus funds, but in St. Joseph, Missouri, two privately owned facilities are getting 100,000 of your tax dollars.” (CBS's "CBS Evening News," 12/9/09)

2. $390,000 TO STUDY MALT LIQUOR AND MARIJUANA CONSUMPTION:
"The State University Of New York at Buffalo won $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana." ("Senate GOP Point Out 'Pure Waste' Found In Stimulus Package," The Hill, 12/8/09)

3. $210,000 TO STUDY LEARNING PATTERNS OF HONEYBEES:
"The University Of Hawaii collected $210,000 to study the learning patterns of honeybees, and $700,000 went to help crab fishermen in Oregon recover lost crab pots." ("Senate GOP Point Out 'Pure Waste' Found In Stimulus Package," The Hill, 12/8/09)

4. $1 MILLION TO STUDY ANTS:
"Half a million dollars went to Arizona State University to study the genetic makeup of ants to determine distinctive roles in ant colonies; $450,000 went to the University Of Arizona to study the division of labor in ant colonies." ("Senate GOP Point Out 'Pure Waste' Found In Stimulus Package," The Hill, 12/8/09)

5. $15,551 TO STUDY DRUNK MICE:
"The rodent study at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton used $15,551 in stimulus funds to pay for two summer researchers to help gauge how alcohol affects a mouse's motor functions." ("Stimulus Money And Weird Science: Benefit Or Boondoggle?" The Orlando Sentinel, 2/16/10)

6. $4,200-$5,500 TAX CREDIT FOR PURCHASING GOLF CARTS:
"President Obama's stimulus plan is now paying Americans to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart." "Thanks to the federal tax credit to buy high-mileage cars that was part of President Obama's stimulus plan, Uncle Sam is now paying Americans to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart. The federal credit provides from $4,200 to $5,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and when it is combined with similar incentive plans in many states the tax credits can pay for nearly the entire cost of a golf cart." ("Cash For Clubbers," The Wall Street Journal, 10/17/09)

7. $219,000 TO STUDY THE SEX LIVES OF FEMALE COLLEGE FRESHMEN:
"Five hundred Syracuse University freshmen will divulge the details of their sex lives… $219,000 in stimulus funds for the study."
"Five hundred Syracuse University freshmen will divulge the details of their sex lives as part of a women's health study called 'The Women's Health Project,' being conducted by Michael Carey, SU professor of psychology and medicine. Carey has found himself the target of nationwide criticism from conservatives since he received $219,000 in stimulus funds for the study, which looks at the sex patterns of college women." ("SU Sex Study Raises Concern," The [Syracuse] Daily Orange, 9/8/09)

8. $1 MILLION TO RENOVATE "THE SUNSET STRIP":
"Sunset Boulevard, also known as 'The Sunset Strip' and one of the most famous streets in the world, will be getting a $7 million facelift after more than 75 years of use, with a free million dollar nose job coming from Uncle Sam.
The City of West Hollywood Council received one million dollars in federal funds from the Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), (otherwise known as the $700 billion federal stimulus package), for the long-planned Sunset Strip Beautification Project, which is scheduled to break ground soon. The guaranteed funding will allow the City to increase the already nearly $7 million budgeted for this project by an additional $1,105,000, meaning enhancements to a project that already included the resurfacing of the roadway, sidewalk and improved landscaping." ("Feds Stimulus Sunset Strip Beautification Project," WeHoNews, 9/28/09)

9. $325,394 TO STUDY "MATING DECISIONS" OF CACTUS BUGS:
The Cactus Bug Project at the University Of Florida is more ambitious, spending $325,394 in stimulus money to determine how environment affects the mating decisions of females. According to the project proposal, it should also answer the question, ‘Whether males with large weapons are more or less attractive to females.'" ("Stimulus Money And Weird Science: Benefit Or Boondoggle?" The Orlando Sentinel, 2/16/10)

10. $500,000 TO STUDY "SOCIAL NETWORKS LIKE FACEBOOK":
"A $498,000, Three-Year Grant" To Study "Social Networks Like Facebook."
"Millions of Internet users have been enjoying the fun -- and free -- services provided by advertiser-supported online social networks like Facebook. But Landon Cox, a Duke University assistant professor of computer science, worries about the possible down side -- privacy problems. … To delve deeper into these issues and begin the search for alternatives, Cox recently won a $498,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding is part of the federal stimulus package called the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)." ("Seeking Privacy In The Clouds: Research Aims At Isolating Social Network Information From 'Control Of A Central Entity,'" Science Daily, 10/15/09)

11. $3.4 MILLION FOR A TURTLE TUNNEL IN FLORIDA:
"The other third of the stimulus, government infrastructure spending, has been the most controversial from the start. Some proposals have been criticized as wasteful, such as … A $3.4 million 'ecopassage' to help turtles cross a highway in Tallahassee, Fla."
("The Challenge In Counting Stimulus Returns," The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/09)

12. $30 MILLION FOR A SPRING TRAINING BASEBALL COMPLEX FOR THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS AND COLORADO ROCKIES: "A big chunk of the money that will pay for a new spring-traning training baseball complex on tribal land in the East Valley will be delivered bia a financing program that's part of the federal economic-stimulus plan. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community says it may borrow as much as $30 million of the estimated cost of the $100 million complex near Scottsdale that will become the spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies." ("Stimulus To Help Tribe Build Baseball Complex," The Arizona Republic, 9/17/09)

13. $54 MILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDS USED FOR THE NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN:
JONATHAN KARL, ABC News: "The Napa Valley Wine train, to tourists a great way to see America's most celebrated wine region, to others exhibit A in what's wrong with the stimulus." SEN. TOM COBURN:
"What that is, is a situation where you see the wealthy or well connected get taken care of and the community suffers." KARL: "He's talking about the Napa Valley wine train relocation project, 54 million stimulus dollars to build a new rail bridge, elevate and relocate 3,300 ft of tracks and put flood walls around the train's main station." (ABC News' "Good Morning America," 2/2/10)

14. $50,000 IN STIMULUS FUNDS USED FOR A TENNIS COURT IN MONTANA:
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN: "I Came To Bozeman to find a city on thin ice over how it's spending stimulus money -- $50,000 to erase all of these cracks and potholes in city tennis court
. ... Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer wants to make Bozeman an example of how not to spend stimulus money." ... GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER: "What they violated was that rule of common sense. There ought to be that little guy in your head that waves his finger at you and says, wait a minute, we might want to rethink this thing." (CNN, 1/25/10)

15. $250 STIMULUS CHECKS WENT TO PRISONERS:
MEGYN KELLY, Fox News: “Thousands to a million of your stimulus dollars have gone straight to convicts.
That's right, the feds sending $250 stimulus checks to thousands upon thousands of prisoners... We're talking first degree murders who are getting your money." (Fox News' "America's Newsroom," 8/26/09)

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6 comments:

Vigilocanis said...

Excellent summary of the "Great American Rip Off."

Living in Tallahassee, I have had the opportunity to watch the development of the new turtlebahn from its inception.

I invite you to read more at https//vigilocanis.wordpress.com.

Turtlebahn Turtle Tunnel Just A Symptom Of A Bigger Problem

Excerp:

"It is tougher to get the facts straight on all of the obscure expenditures made by Stimulus Bill administrators than to get the secret sausage recipe from Jimmy Dean.

An expenditure buried in Florida’s list of shovel ready projects for a $3.4 million Stimulus dollar funded Tallahassee turtle tunnel rose from obscurity when Sen. Tom Coburn issued his top 100 worst Stimulus spending projects.

Curiosity and interest for more details on the $3.4 million dollar post-dated check written during the Obama spending orgy was intensified by the preposterous comments made by the hyper-passionate proponents of the 3.4 million dollar turtle passageway.

Government representatives, feeling the heat from the light of public scrutiny after nationwide news reports revealed the turtle tunnel details, have become as articulate as Johnny Cochran in their less-than-accurate defense of the project.

Taxpayers were subtly told about the Stimulus project plans, “If the tunnel fits, you must remit.”

Obvious weakening of public support for the new tunnelbahn, designed specifically to insure safe passage for turtles and frogs from an 1800 lake to 50 acre pond, has public officials shifting their arguments from turtles to public safety as a prime reason for spending the funds.

Without any documented evidence of a single turtle caused automobile accident report at the site, government representatives have became more creative than Star Trek conventioneers, offering far fetched, anecdotal evidence of the potential dangers to drivers from unfettered turtle forays onto the Tallahassee highway.

One government spokesman employed the use of shocking visual imagery to sway public support by suggesting that collisions with turtles could create flying projectiles that could come crashing through driver’s windshields.

Adding to turtle crossing folklore, a local county commissioner suggested a nightmare scenario of a driver colliding with a 40 pound turtle, creating in the reader’s mind, the same impact as hitting a Wyoming boulder."

Napa Valley Wine Train said...

Disclaimer: I work for the Wine Train, included on this list as #13. We did not get $54 million from the federal government.

I have been watching this controversy from its beginning in December, and for the most part, the reporting that has been done has been very inaccurate and unprofessional. Here, the GOP has chosen to republish only a portion of some of the same bad reporting. I would urge all readers to do their own research into this topic.

Of course, we would appreciate it if you could start by hearing our side of the story, which can be found at http://winetrain.com/flood-control-facts.

Pericles said...

Hannity continues to document more..
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,523919,00.html

Seamus said...

So basic research into insects that eat into our food supply is "waste" and not in the public good?

John Ruberry said...

We have a growing deficit that is unsustainable--we can't say "Yes" to every spending proposal

Bob said...

I remember when Senator Proxmire used to give out awards for what he labeled as stupid wasteful government projects, like the mating habits of flies. But this science was the basis of Integrated Pest Management, the science that allows food producers (farmers) to grow food using much less pesticide. Industry won't do this research (they tried to kill it) because they want farmers to buy pesticides. With Integrated Pest Management, farmers use far less pesticide, less environmental degradation, safer food supply.

It is easy to knock all these things, but they do not add up to the huge sum used to subsidize the oil industry. How much do you really know about all these projects?