Sometimes You Gotta Spend Taxpayer Money to... Spend Taxpayer Money

Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, testified in March that he estimated seven percent of the $787 billion stimulus spending bill, i.e., $55 billion, would be lost to fraud. All that fraud despite the transparency under that nifty government website,  Tsk, tsk.

On April 28 the Senate passed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA) targeting fraud under the Toxic Asset Relief Program, the stimulus bill and other federal handouts, and appropriating more money for such enforcement.  FERA also expands the reach of federal criminal laws over mortgage lending, restricts movement of money outside the United States to avoid taxes, and expands the reach of the False Claims Act, which is a whistleblower law targeted at false billings to the federal government.

The Congressional Budget Office cost estimates the additional federal law enforcement will cost $490 million over the 2010 - 2014 period.

That's in addition to the costs states will incur to spend our money.  California, for example, created a new post of inspector general just to oversee the stimulus spending.  The spending of federal stimulus money is so expensive that some states can't seem to afford it.

Two words frequently come to mind when I think of public spending: Big Dig.