September 22nd, 2010
05:45 PM ET

Only 55 jobs created with $111 million in stimulus money?


An aerial photo of downtown Los Angeles. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's yet another glaring example of government inefficiency:

Two Los Angeles departments that received $111 million in federal stimulus money have only created 55 jobs so far. 55.

Reports by the city controller show that the Departments of Public Works and Transportation moved too slowly in spending the stimulus money - partly due to all the red tape. These agencies say they plan to create or retain 264 jobs once they spend all of the money.

The Department of Public Works, which got $71 million in stimulus money, has plans for projects like resurfacing streets and bridges and rebuilding sidewalks and storm drains.

That all sounds good - but these reports show it took eight months to put together bids, review them and then award the contracts.

As for the Department of Transportation, it's received almost $41 million to buy new buses, upgrade railroad crossings and put in new traffic signals. But the controller's report shows it took nearly a year to get approval to buy some of these buses.

Almost a year. Meanwhile, unemployment in Los Angeles is above 12 percent.

According to The Los Angeles Times, city officials wouldn't comment on the audit - but pointed to newer figures they have showing stimulus dollars at work.

Just imagine what the private sector could do with $111 million. For a $50,000 salary, you could directly hire more than 2,000 people. Not 55.

Here’s my question to you: Should two Los Angeles departments have been able to create more than 55 jobs with $111 million in stimulus money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


February 23rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Gov't hasn't installed one airport scanner with stimulus $$$

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Our government is broken. The Department of Homeland Security still has not installed a single airport scanner paid for by Pres. Obama's economic stimulus bill more than one year ago.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/23/art.tsa.jpg caption="Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA)"]
$25 million was set aside to buy the kind of screening machines that would be able to detect the explosives that the Christmas Day bomber carried on him.

Politico reports it took Homeland Security seven months just to order the 150 screening machines. Seven months. The company that builds the scanners says they've since delivered more than 100 of them to the transportation security administration - and now they're sitting somewhere in storage.

By way of an explanation, Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa says they're "very actively working on a deployment plan." A deployment plan? Like put them at the airports?

TSA spokesman James Fotenos says it is "In the process of accepting delivery of the initial 150 units purchased," and that it is "staging for their deployment," whatever the hell that means. He also says they're "working closely with airports to install these units."

Some of the nation's busiest airports still don't have these scanners, including New York's JFK and LaGuardia, Chicago's O'Hare and Washington's Dulles. The machines are in storage.

Here's the height of government arrogance and dysfunction. To mark the anniversary of the stimulus bill, Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano inspected a scanner at Washington's national airport. They've been in use there for more than a year.

She also trumpeted the $25 million spent on the 150 additional scanners - but failed to mention of course that not a single one of them is in use yet.

Late this afternoon, in response to the embarrassing nature of this story, a Homeland Security official said they think they can get these scanners installed by the end of June.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the government hasn't installed a single airport scanner paid for more than one year ago with stimulus money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Stimulus
January 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Is the stimulus package creating jobs?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Almost a year since President Obama signed the massive $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package into law, turns out the public isn't so crazy about it.

A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows almost three-quarters of Americans say that at least half of the money spent has been wasted.

The poll also shows 63 percent say the projects in the plan were included for purely political reasons, while only 36 percent say the projects will help the economy.

Overall, 56 percent oppose the stimulus plan... last year, a majority supported it.

There's even disagreement among the president's top lieutenants on how effective the stimulus package has been. Three top White House officials gave three different answers on the Sunday talk shows about how many jobs could be credited to the president's recovery act.

Valerie Jarrett said the plan "saved thousands and thousands of jobs." David Axelrod said it "created more than, or saved more than two million jobs," while Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it "saved or created 1.5 million jobs."

The so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was meant to stimulate the economy by increasing federal spending and cutting taxes.

The White House predicted the stimulus package would keep the unemployment rate from going above eight percent - it's 10 percent.

Here’s my question to you: Do you believe the stimulus package is creating jobs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Stimulus • Unemployment • Unemployment / Economy
November 17th, 2009
03:51 PM ET

Jobs created in places that don’t even exist?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/17/art.recover.gov.jpg caption="How much faith do you have in stimulus spending?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty

The Obama administration is bragging about jobs "saved or created" in congressional districts that don't exist.

ABC News broke this incredible story, finding several examples on the government's recovery web site... including hundreds of millions of dollars spent and jobs created in nonexistent or misidentified districts.

For example – Recovery.gov says thirty jobs were created or saved in Arizona's 15th congressional district using under $800,000 in stimulus spending. There is no 15th Congressional district in Arizona. The entire state only has eight.

Garbage like this also turned up in Oklahoma, Iowa, and Connecticut -along with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The Recovery Board - which was created to track the $787 billion in stimulus spending and provide an unprecedented level of transparency - is chalking up the mistakes to human error. They say they report what recipients, like state governments or federal agencies, submit to them and that some of those recipients don't know what district they live in.

Shouldn't someone in Washington know how many congressional districts there are in Arizona? We're being treated like mushrooms here, folks. Kept in the dark and fed a diet of - well, you know.

ABC News also reports that the White House deleted sixty thousand from the count of those "saved or created" in a recent report because the numbers were based on "unrealistic data."

Democratic Congressman David Obey, who chairs the appropriations Committee, calls the inaccuracies "outrageous" and says the administration owes "every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes."

How much faith do you have in stimulus spending if the administration reports job creation in places that don’t even exist?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: Stimulus
August 19th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Why hasn't stimulus package produced more jobs?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Six months since the Obama administration pushed through the massive $787 billion economic stimulus package. So where are the jobs?

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor says he doesn't think the program is working as well as it was advertised, and says no one should be highlighting the benefits of the plan.

Cantor points out that when this thing was passed - the administration predicted it would keep unemployment lower than 8.5-percent. The jobless rate in July was 9.4-percent.

The White House has pushed back against critics of the stimulus bill - saying it's working as planned - by easing but not erasing the impact of the recession.

They say it will take a "very, very long time" to fill what they call a "very, very deep hole." That's fine… but where are the jobs?

Most economists agree the recession would have been worse without the stimulus... although they don't agree on how much it has helped.

Meanwhile - a new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows most Americans think the stimulus package has cost too much money and isn't doing enough to end the recession.

57-percent of those polled say it is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. 60-percent doubt the plan will help the economy in the future... and only 18-percent say it has done anything to help their personal situation. Not exactly rave reviews.

Here’s my question to you: Why hasn't the stimulus package produced more of a recovery in the jobs market?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


August 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's transparency promise on bailout & stimulus $?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/14/jc.oboma.0814.gi.jpg caption=" When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Pres. Obama has been promising the American people transparency ever since he was on the campaign trail.

And, when it comes to the $700 billion dollar bank and auto bailouts, known as TARP, and the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the president vowed an unprecedented level of openness.

A lot of information has been made public through websites like recovery.gov and financialstability.gov. The administration calls these sites "pioneering" compared to how government worked in the past.

But we're talking about almost $1.5 trillion dollars here – and there is key information that the public doesn't know about how and where this money is being spent.

For example, the Treasury Department doesn't require banks that have gotten TARP funds to show how they're using the money or who the bailed out banks are lending to.

Also, taxpayers won't have any idea if they've lost or made money on government investments in companies like General Motors, AIG, Citigroup and Bank of America until the government sells its stakes.

As for the spending of stimulus dollars, the government accounting only goes as far as the first tier recipients from the states. So it's not known which and how many companies down the line are getting work.

It's not enough. We deserve the transparency that was promised us. Otherwise it's just another example of government lying to us in order to get us to go along with something. Does the Iraq war ring a bell?

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION:When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: President Obama • Stimulus