Well, I didn't have anything to do, so I decided to check out recovery.gov, the government's Stimulus Website that they say allows transparency for blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I figure I'd share with you guys what I was struck by when I visited.
1. First, of course, I noticed how pro-stimulus the site is. Obviously this was expected, but I was surprised by the lack of total projects they listed on the website. If you guys go through, you'll see a couple hundreds of dots representing things the Stimulus has funded. This may seem like a lot, but considering that 787 Billion went to the bill, you'd figure there would be a lot more than 200 projects. In fact, if there were really only that many, each would get approximately 4.5 billion bucks.
2. Second, the site is set up to show clearly what our money is going to. However, understanding what exactly the Stimulus is funding is... well, indeciferable from the descriptions. For example, the CDM Federal Programs Corp. is getting $11,150,000 for some reason. Under Description of Work/Service Performed, it says:
RECOVERY - THE PURPOSE OF THIS MODIFICATION IS TO OBLIGATE $4,700,000.00 TO ALLOW THE CONTRACTOR TO PERFORM THE NECESSARY ACTIVITIES TO IMPLEMENT AND CONSTRUCT THE REMEDIAL ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FINAL REMEDIAL DESIGN, PLANS, SPECIFICATIONS, GENERAL TECHNICAL PROVISIONS, AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EPA RECORD OF DECISION (ROD).
I simply don't understand what this means. Money could be going to a great project, but this description says absolutely nothing. What is the remedial action? What exactly are they referring to? What is the EPA record of Decision? Is this even in English?
Or how about this short and great description of why the Greenleaf Construction Co. is getting 1.26 Million dollars:
THIS MODIFICATION IS ISSUED TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES TO MODIFICATION #1 TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH OBLIGATING ARRA FUNDING.1. TO INCORPORATE THE FOLLOWING CLAUSES: 52.204-11 AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS; 52.225-21 REQUIRED USE OF AMERICAN IRON, STEEL, AND MANUFACTURED GOODS--BUY AMERICAN ACT--CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS IN LIEU OF 52.225-9 BUY AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION; 52.225-22 NOTICE OF REQUIRED USE OF AMERICAN IRON, STEEL, AND OTHER MANUFACTURED GOODS--BUY AMERICAN ACT--CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, IN LIEU OF 52.225-10, NOTICE OF BUY AMERICAN ACT REQUIREMENT-- CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS; 52.203-15, WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 UPDATE CLAUSE 52.203-13 CONTRACTOR CODE OF BUSINESS ETHICS AND CONDUCT TO DEC 2008 IN LIEU OF DEC 2007, NO CHANGE IN TOTAL CONTRACT PRICE.
That's right, folks, one sentence! Once again, it could be a great project, but who knows?
3. Wouldn't it be neat if the website easily and clearly listed what projects it's doing? You know, short descriptions for, I don't know, all of the projects that are getting consideration and projects in production? Oh, wait, I forgot that this is a government website. Silly me.
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