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Where's The (Stimulus Package) Beef?

By aaroncynic in News on Nov 24, 2009 10:00PM

2009_11_24_recovery.jpg No one’s happy about the economy right now and it doesn’t seem that anyone is happy about the stimulus package either. Whether someone is shouting socialism or directing other vitriol at President Obama or some fuzzy numbers and bad data show up in the records, the stimulus package can’t seem to get a break. Now, the Chicago Tribune reports that the $6.4 billion Illinois received doesn’t seem to add up to many new jobs.

According to the Tribune, stimulus money paid for hiring a records clerk at a health clinic in Peoria along with four other people, three new Evergreen Park Police officers, and maybe helped three Navy Pier actors and a little over two dozen workers at Children’s Home and Aid keep their jobs. However, those folks who were lucky enough to keep their jobs and receive a cost of living adjustment apparently were counted as “new” jobs. Vice president of quality and performance at Children’s Home and Aid Hilary Freeman said, “There were no jobs created with this. When we tried to report that, it would not let us enter zero. That was 34 people that actually got that cost-of-living adjustment at our agency.”

Plenty of pundits and politicians have criticized the Obama administration’s record keeping and transparency regarding the stimulus package. Republican Aaron Schock of Peoria, whose district received $3.4 billion in stimulus money, said the records (which can be seen at could be “easily found and easily seen” but added the question, “Is it transparent?" Liz Oxhorn, a White House spokeswoman on the recovery act responded in the usual way the White House does by saying, “the data may not be 100 percent perfect, but overall we believe it offers an unprecedented look at the recovery process to date.”

While it may not be perfect or 100% accurate, the Obama administration’s stimulus website seems to be a better way to track and question the accuracy of records when compared to the supposed oversight of recipients of TARP funds. Numerous articles have pointed out than many banks simply shrugged their shoulders at record keeping when it came to the $700 billion they received in 2008. Of course, we can’t blame Obama for that, since the Bush administration pushed that bailout through. Interestingly enough, that administration had its own problems when it came to accountability in finances and jobs. It appears that we’ll still have to wonder if there’s any real accountability anywhere.