So the Tennessean had an article in yesterday’s paper about the $330.5 mil in the stimulus to aid in tracking the money. The investigative arm of congress is getting a $25 million shot in the arm. Makes sense right? I mean, after all, there’s around a trillion dollars floating around – we should have some idea of where it’s going.
Here’s some of the breakdown on that oversight money, from the Tennessean:
$25 million: Government Accountability Office
$84 million to create an accountability board within the administration
$221.5 million to the inspectors general who will serve as department watchdogs.
A few problems with this. The GAO’s $25 million will be spent to hire 100 lawyers, economists and policy analysts. Anyone else think that’s a little excessive? I’m willing to bet that half of these guys probably can’t even manage their own finances well enough to qualify for a personal loan. In addition, there are few guidelines on what exactly all these watchdogs are supposed to be looking for. What exactly is the stimulus money supposed to accomplish? There are no specific goals for these funds, which mean there are no standards by which to measure them. Having watchdogs is all well and good but if they have no quantifiable red flags or mistakes to look out for, it’s going to be ineffective.
There’s also no oversight board. Even the initial bailout “financial rescue” package had a Congressional oversight board that reported everything to Congress. The spending stimulus package leaves that with federal agencies. Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas says it well:
“I don’t know that the American public believes that the White House holding the White House accountable is really good for them. The federal government is getting set to simply rain cash down on America, but it’s the equivalent of a bad credit loan. We want to know where these dollars land and whether it grows jobs as promised.”
So let’s get this straight. Both our President and Vice President railed against Bush’s lack of accountability with the bailout packages… and then fail to even set up an oversight board, letting $330.5 worth of “oversight” run around in circles with no official leadership or guidelines. Awesome. I’m encouraged. Everyone else going to sleep better tonight?
Posted in Stimulus