Feed on

I really don’t know how I can comment on these.  Here is a sampling of what the preposterous pontificating plunderers have done with your money:

Abandoned Train Station Converted Into Museum (Glassboro, NJ) – $1.2 million

The Glassboro train station was … unused for nearly 40 years, it now sits boarded up and riddled with graffiti. In 2002, the Borough of Glassboro, New Jersey received nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase the train station from Conrail.

(so you paid for it once)

And now pay for it again.

At that time, officials hoped to incorporate the station into the regional NJ Transit system. But those plans fell through, and since then local officials have been looking for a way to fund renovations to put the building to some use.

After eight years of failure and further deterioration of the building … local officials lobbied hard for additional stimulus money. They are hoping to spend the more than $1 million for the project “interpreting local history in its proper setting and make it a museum, public meeting space and welcome center.

Here’s an image:

How about this story?

If At First You Don’t Succeed? Steal and steal again!

Once considered ahead of its time, the Fitchburg Furnace in Kentucky was abandoned after just five
years in service—it then sat unused for nearly 140 more.79 Now it is getting a $357,710 makeover to repair stonework on the old structure and allow historians to conduct research.80 Much of the damage to the structure occurred more than half a century ago when a local moonshiner loaded the structure with
dynamite and tried to blow it up.81 In 2004, however, the federal government provided $661,000 for
restoration of the building,82 though “much of which was lost” due to “bad stewardship of money,”
according to Skip Johnson, current treasurer of the Friends of Fitchburg

In Which You Are Not Encouraged to Spruce Up Your Own Place (remember the progressives argue that private individuals would never ever produce public goods)

Project Costs Jobs, Drastically Reduces Shopping Center Business (Normandy Park, WA) –
$3.8 million

Normandy Park Towne Center has struggled to attract and retain businesses,125 but a recent streetscaping project is making the prospects even worse. The U.S. Department of Transportation provided the city of Normandy Park, Washington with $3.8 million to spruce up eight blocks of 1st Avenue with the addition of “bike lanes, street lights, landscaping and a sidewalk.”126 The impact on local businesses has not been entirely welcome.

Archery Bistro, located in the shopping center and along the road, saw its lunch profits fall from $1,000 a day to $200 a day after construction began, forcing the elimination of two jobs.  Restaurant owner, Todd
McKittrick, eventually closed the bistro on Sundays and Mondays,128 and stopped serving lunch, after customers fell from 150 an afternoon to 30. “I thought this was supposed to be federal stimulus, not ‘put me out of business,’” noted McKittrick.  Since McKittrick had to let go of two employees he has decided to forego his own paycheck, a fact that he blames on the project … (wintercow: he’s a fat capitalist anyway and doesn’t deserve his profits)

and here is the kicker

McKittrick noted that much of this fuss was avoidable, in large part because he offered to lay down his
own sidewalks when he built the shopping center. The city turned down that offer, saying that if he
did so, it would threaten their chances at getting federal funding.

Firm Gets No-Bid Environmental Cleanup Contract – for a Mess It Helped Make165 (Simi
Valley, CA) – $15.8 million

It’s the “Pottery Barn” rule in reverse: you break it, you get paid for it. Aerospace giant Boeing received a
no-bid contract worth nearly $16 million166 in stimulus money to clean up a California site it helped
pollute.167 The facility, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, was built in the 1940s, and has been used for
engine testing and nuclear power work; Boeing has owned it since 1996.168 In 2007, local authorities fined Boeing $471,000 for dozens of pollution violations at the site, which poisoned wastewater and storm runoff that ended up in the Los Angeles River.169 The company is currently fighting to overturn a
California law that puts strict requirements on cleanup at the site.

A Preview of the Cash for Caulkers Project …

Shoddy Weatherization Contractor Promises Changes (Houston, TX) – $11.2 million
If 60 percent of the work you did had to be redone by someone else, you wouldn’t hold onto your job for
long, or expect to be paid for the work. However, that seems to be what happened with home weatherization efforts by Sheltering Arms Senior Services of Houston, according to a May report from
the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The report described problems of
overspending on administrative costs, a systemic lack of documentation, and simply substandard work,
with 33 of 53 homes sampled requiring workmanship corrections. The non-profit company, which
received more than $11 million in stimulus funding for work in the Houston area, was the second
largest recipient of stimulus funds for weatherization projects in the state of Texas.

A Preview of the Coming Light-Rail Projects

Two Riders an Hour Get Brand New Buses (Winter Haven, FL) – $2.4 million
Winter Haven Area Transit (WHAT) buses carry two to three riders per hour, according to the City Commission’s liaison to the Transit authority.231 While that may be a bit of an undercount according to the Transit Authority, City Commissioner Jamie Beckett is “not convinced we need 40-foot buses for two or three riders an hour.” All the same, the town is getting five new buses for its fleet, thanks to
more than $2.38 million stimulus dollars.235 The entire WHAT budget for FY 2009 was only $60,000, and for FY 2010 it was only $110,000, 236 yet the average cost of the new buses will be $380,000.237 At least there will be plenty of leg room, if the buses are as empty as they seem.

Pravda Redux

Public Relations Firm Wins Big Stimulus Bucks (New York, NY) – $25.8 million

What do you do when a key government program is unpopular with the general public? In the case of the
stimulus, you sign a multi-million dollar contract with a public relations firm previously embroiled in
controversy. For some time, the Administration’s push for health information technology systems has
been facing significant public resistance because of privacy concerns.240 In response, the Department of
Health and Human Services spent $25.8 million on a contract with Ketchum Inc. to help win over public
opinion.241 Ketchum was criticized before, however, on other governmental work. The reason?
Producing fake TV news stories for government agencies

There’s 93 more examples. Go take a peek and try not to gag. But I guess I am just overreacting, you know, it’s not like this stuff goes on regularly, outside of the government schools at least.

2 Responses to “Yep, Just a Few Isolated Incidents”

  1. Harry says:

    But, as Robert Reich asked, how about the multiplier?

    What does your buddy Paul Krugman have to say about this?

  2. Paul Krugman says:

    I think 1 trillion more in useless stimulus spending is in order! I’m sure there are more abandoned building we can “fix” to “boost” the economy.

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