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2010-02-24 digital edition

STIMULATING PLAN FAILS: After one year, Americans see more waste, no jobs

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Are you and your audience prepared to get angry? Like millions of Americans, Former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez (R-CO), is standing on the Main-Street sidelines watching his money be spent by a government that says it knows what's best for us.

And, like a fiscal watchdog, he's at the very end of his chain in frustration with the one-year results of the Obama administration's infamous economic stimulus package (officially, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

While Vice President Joe Biden continues trying to sell us on it, and while the Congressional Budget Office reports that the bill will actually cost $75 billion more than the already hard-to-swallow $787 billion, Beauprez is doing his homework.

Voters also know that millions in stimulus dollars were wasted in ridiculous government pork projects. The following is just a sampling of The Best of the Stimulus Stupidity. 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: "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 as part of a women's health study called 'The Women's Health Project,' being conducted by Michael Carey, SU professor of psych-ology 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), (other-wise 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 Beauti-fication 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": "Millions of Internet users have been enjoying the funand 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 Challe-nge In Counting Stimulus Returns," The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/09) 12.$30 MILLION FOR A SPRING TRAINING BASE-BALL COMPLEX FOR THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBAC-KS AND COLORADO ROC-KIES: "A big chunk of the money that will pay for a new spring-training baseball complex on tribal land in the east valley will be delivered via a financing program that's part of the federal economicstimulus 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)

2010-02-24 / Editorial & Columns

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