Obama's Stimulus Is Only Boosting the National Debt

A report prepared by Sens. Tom Coburn and John McCain highlights 100 projects funded through the economic stimulus package that run counter to its stated purpose.

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Anyone who still thinks the Obama stimulus was a good idea and helped the U.S. economy up off its back would do well to take a look at a new report--titled "Summertime Blues"--documenting just how wasteful and mismanaged it is.

[See a slide show of 10 wasteful stimulus projects.]

Prepared by Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John McCain of Arizona, the report highlights 100 projects funded through the economic stimulus package that run counter to its stated purpose as investments “in long-term priorities to create and sustain economic growth.”

[See who donated the most to McCain's campaign.]

“When Congress passed the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, otherwise known as the stimulus bill, it passed with assurances that it would stem the loss of American jobs and keep the economy from floundering,” the report says. “Eighteen months since the law’s passage, millions of jobs are still gone and the economy is as uncertain as ever. The only thing getting a boost is our national debt--the stimulus has helped push it 23 percent higher, to $13.2 trillion, a new record.”

Among the projects highlighted in the report are:

  • $554,763 to the U.S. Forest Service to allow it to replace the windows in a visitors center at Mount St. Helens, Wash., that is currently closed and which the Forest Service has no plans to re-open.
  • $1.2 million to convert an abandoned train station in Glassboro, N.J., that has been boarded up and unused for 40 years, into “a museum, public meeting space and welcome center.”
  • $1.9 million to allow the California Academy of Sciences to send researchers to the Southwest Indian Ocean Islands and east Africa, to capture, photograph, and analyze thousands of exotic ants--with the photographs to be posted on AntWeb, a Web site devoted to organizing and displaying pictures and information on the world’s thousands of ant species.
  • $677,462 to researchers at Georgia State University to study why monkeys respond negatively to inequity and unfairness.
  • $712,883 to researchers at Northwestern University using stimulus money in an effort utilizing “artificial intelligence” that will mine jokes from the Internet and “use them to create hilarious presentations that mimic real-life comedians.”
  •  Despite this, Congress is gearing up for stimulus, round two. Will they never learn?

    • Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.
    • See a slide show of 10 wasteful stimulus projects.
    • Follow the money in Congress.