Only about 6 percent of the $800 billion stimulus package has been spent so far and that's probably a good thing. Yet, the Obama Administration is already starting to claim victory for an economy they say is turning around.
To get an idea of how this will play out one needs only look at the tobacco settlement money. In 1998, proponents of the scheme to transfer wealth from tobacco companies to the states assured us that the money would be spent on anti-smoking campaigns to help prevent kids from ever picking up a cigarette. Only about 3 percent of the $250 billion payout went to such efforts. According to an ABC News report in 2005, Virginia spent a large portion of their money on a speedway. New York used part of their money for a golf course sprinkler system. North Carolina used their money to build, of all things, new tobacco warehouses.
It's my opinion that the stimulus package was a horrible idea from the beginning. However, if the federal government had just divided it up as stimulus checks and sent it back to the people it would have amounted to about $2,500 for every man, woman and child in the country. A family of 5 would've received a check for $12,500! Imagine what that would have done for the economy.
Instead, the money is slowly trickling out and the waste and graft will be gargantuan. By the administration's own admission, the bulk of the money will not reach the states for a full two years. Did they expect this recession would last that long when they proposed the measure? Certainly not. You see, the stimulus package was never meant to stimulate the economy. It was another means of redistributing wealth and growing the size and scope of government. States will ostensibly use the money for "shovel-ready" construction projects. How many projects are shovel-ready when, before the money was stolen from the treasury, there was no money to fund these projects?
Most states prioritize their spending not unlike we, as individual citizens, do. There are all sorts of pet projects that governors and state legislators are slobbering to get their hands on the money to fund. Under the rules of the stimulus package, governors can overrule their own legislatures when it comes to spending priorities. Chief executives will be flush with cash to pay off heavy contributors or influence their re-elections.
Matthew Vadum of The American Spectator has dug down deep into the stimulus package. What he found is that potentially nearly $8.5 billion of it will go to ACORN, the community activist group that's been under an avalanche of indictments in at least 14 states for voter registration fraud. They're now tasked with helping count heads for the census.
Under normal circumstances, any entity or individual under investigation or on trial for violation of federal law would not be allowed access to government funds until the issue or issues were resolved. It's not like ACORN is under only one investigation. ACORN workers have already pled guilty in some of the cases against them. Congressman Barney Frank crafted a fix for ACORN in the form of an amendment to the $140 million Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act. It allows organizations to continue receiving federal money so long as they avoid conviction. It has already passed the House.
ACORN claims to be non-partisan but it is a blatant get-out-the-vote machine for the Democrat Party and Obama has been cozy with them for years. Now it's payback time. We may as well call this The Perpetual Democrat Election Act of 2009.