100 Stimulus projects guaranteed to make your blood boil

The list is compiled by Senator Tom Coburn's office (PDF required) and comes to us via Maggies Farm.

I'm sure with a little effort, someone could compile a list 10 times that size and still barely scratch the surface of this gargantuan waste of tax payer money. It would be one thing if the projects actually fulfilled their promise and stimulated the economy back to health. This is what we were told. This is what we were led to believe.

Of course, almost everyone - even liberals like Paul Krugman and Robert Samuelson - said it wouldn't stimulate anything. Instead, as highlighted in these pages as elsewhere, a cynical fraud was perpetrated on the American people as political payoffs to favored interest groups was passed off as a panacea for what ails the economy.

Obama lied. The economy fried.

Some of these projects are stomach turning. Coyote Blog shares their favorites:

  • $1.445 million for an Oklahoma water project, where stimulus-required procurement and other rules subsequently increased the cost of the project by $1.94 million.  So the local folks lost a net of $500,000 by taking our money.  Serves the right.
  • $800,000 for a backup runway for the now famous airport to nowhere, also known as the John Murtha airport in Johnstown.  This is critical, because if they were to lose their current runway, all three flights a day and 20 daily passengers (I am not kidding) might have to find an alternative airport.  This brings the total airport subsidy to $15,411 per annual passenger.
  • A California skate park will get a $620,000 "facelift."  Plans to refurbish the skate park in Long Beach, California, had stalled for months as local funds put towards higher priority park projects. With $620,000 in federal stimulus funding available to upgrade the skate park, the city council decided to move forward. Daniel Johnson, a skater, said, "If most of us weren't skating right now, we'd be doing some bad stuff."  Because nothing says "gateway activity to adult productivity and preparation for the job market" like a skateboard park.
We will never get that money back. It was seized from our pockets and flowed into the coffers of the Friends of Obama. We will be paying interest on it, our children will be paying interest on it, our grandchildren and probably their grandchildren will be paying interest on it.

Interest on monies used to resurface a skateboard park. Interest on monies paid to finish a runway  at an airport nobody uses except a powerful congressman. Interest on road and bridge projects that could have been paid for out of the gas tax fund - the proper use of that money -  rather than the more expensive, less transparent, less accountable money from the stimulus bill.

But don't worry. Joe Biden is keeping track of that money for us. The problem, of course, is that Biden ran out of fingers and toes to count that money a long time ago. Even if he tried to keep count using his false teeth and hair plugs, he would have lost track of the spending.

The American people have become cynical. They expect this kind of waste out of government because no one in Congress will do anything about it. They are not outraged when Democrats and Republicans put 8,000 earmarks into a spending bill because they have become inured to the idea that their hard earned coin will be thrown away on projects like those listed by Senator Coburn. The feeling seems to be that as long as they get some of that cash for their own town or village, it's worth it.

It seems to me that a party that stands up and starts screaming about this fraud while practicing what they preach and proposing rational, non-porkulus ways to stimulate the economy might just do very well in the elections in 2010.

Do we know any party capable of that? Unfortunately, not at the moment.