Monday, January 4, 2010

Stimulus Or Slush Fund?

First were the reports that stimulus money was being reported on the website as creating or "saving" jobs in Congressional districts that didn't exist. The feds cleaned up that mess by lumping all those funds into an "unassigned" category. Problem solved!

Now it looks like there's another little snafu with tracking this money. An investigation in New Mexico has turned up $28 million dollars worth of funds allocated to zip codes that don't exist.

If it isn't clear to you that the purpose of the stimulus was to get money into the hands of friends of the administration, it should be. Being a number off -- say, 59013 for Fargo instead of 58103 -- is possible, even likely in a tracking effort this large. But numerous examples of nonexistent zip codes in one state? It doesn't add up, unless that money went to something far outside the scope of the stimulus. And now that money is just gone, as there's no way to track it. Which is exactly how it was supposed to happen.

Assume $28 million is the midrange for this. Multiplied across 50 states and you are looking at over a billion dollars of money that's just... gone.


  1. More proof that history repeats. FDR did the same thing for many years by funneling money to political friends of his administration and stifling economic growth. Let's hope it doesn't take a World War to get us out of this mess like it did with FDR.

  2. Politicians on both sides of the aisle do it all the time. But when they get a chance to couch in as a "stimulus" or a a "New Deal" we start talking about billions instead of millions. And yes, it does slow economic growth.

    Instapundit uses a line a lot to answer rhetorical questions, like, "instead of spending $487 billion to 'stimulate' the economy, why didn't we just give every American $1 million dollars? Because there's no opportunity for graft."

    It's true now, it's always been true, and it will always be true. Which is one of many reasons why smaller government is better.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more...