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AP: No Money Can Be Cut From Stimulus

From the Associated Press’s ironically named Spin Meter:

Not much savings from stimulus money

Brett J. Blackledge, Associated Press
February 4, 2011

WASHINGTON – Congressional Republicans say they want to cut federal spending by raiding $45 billion from President Barack Obama’s politically unpopular economic stimulus program. But they won’t be able to get their hands on most of that money.

"Raiding"? We thought Congress was in charge of the government’s purse strings? But suddenly it is "raiding" when the Republicans are trying to make cuts. But somehow it’s never called that when the Democrats are slashing defense spending.

At most, only about $7 billion of the $814 billion in economic recovery money awarded under the 2009 federal law hasn’t already been spoken for, according to the latest White House estimates. And Republican leaders now acknowledge they would be lucky to identify as much as $5 billion in stimulus-related spending cuts as part of a plan to save taxpayers $2.5 trillion over 10 years

Well, $5 billion is nothing to sneeze at. But why should we believe the White House estimates?

It’s not that all the stimulus money has been spent; it has been committed for specific projects and programs. In the confusing money flow from Washington to the rest of the country, there’s still about $168 billion in stimulus money that has not actually been paid out, according to the administration. But it says nearly all of that money already is tied up in contracts with companies, obligations with states and local governments, promised taxpayer relief and commitments to government programs

Funny, but we never hear about such concerns when the Department of Defense is having its budget cut. Don’t they have contracts and obligations? Don’t they have commitments?

Perhaps the difference is that the Department Of Defense workers aren’t unionized.

The unspent money remains in the federal pipeline despite Obama’s promise that recovery spending would occur swiftly to stimulate the nation’s economy after Congress approved the program nearly two years ago.

Which is the AP’s gentle way of noting that Mr. Obama lied when he said this money would immediately go to "shovel ready jobs" that would quickly get the economy roaring again. And it still hasn’t been spent, two years later.

Even the $7 billion the White House says is not yet obligated can’t readily be yanked back by Republicans as savings because, administration officials said, planning is well under way for the projects expected to benefit.

Again, we never hear this kind of talk when the Democrats are cutting the Pentagon’s budget. Clearly the Pentagon never plans ahead.

"These remaining dollars include funding for major high-speed rail, clean energy and other infrastructure projects that in many cases have already been awarded and just haven’t been formally put under contract," said Liz Oxhorn, the White House’s spokeswoman for the economic recovery program. "Rescinding these funds could halt job-creating projects years in the making where preliminary work in some cases is already under way." …

You see, cutting spending for our National Defense never affects contracts or costs jobs, or means rescinding projects that are already underway.

Congress could go after some of the unspent money, although it would require undoing commitments made in the stimulus legislation, and no specific proposals have been offered to do that

"Commitments made in the stimulus legislation" is government-speak for ‘earmarks.’ And here we thought that earmarks were the embodiment of pure evil.

But it turns out that even earmarks are sacrosanct if it means that some Democrat’s pet project might get cut.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 4th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “AP: No Money Can Be Cut From Stimulus”

  1. P. Aaron says:

    It’s more apt: ‘High Cost Rail’. Speed average.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    What the Associated Press and the White House are calling ‘stimulus’ money we used to call cumshaw and/or protection.

    And it was illegal as hell.

  3. untrainable says:

    When will we have enough infrastructure that we may begin throwing money at outfrastructure???

    [sarc] Come on boys! Let’s legislate innovation. If you invent something good… we’ll give you a tax break (but you’ll need to pay the new innovation tax first)!

    Let’s legislate some trade! We don’t make anything… so first we have to make some stuff, then we need to trade it… with like other countries and stuff! China needs widgets! [/sarc].

    I wish they would just call stimulus money what it is. A Democrat re-election slush fund.

  4. TerryAnne says:

    Here in Alexandria – just 7 miles from downtown DC – stimulus funds went to put in new windows in the low-income (read: ghetto) housing.

    Whoohoo! I can’t afford to buy a house up here and live in 600 square feet of apartment “bliss” that has crappy windows. But I’m so glad my tax dollars, which are bleeding me dry and leaving me only able to afford an apartment, can go to making sure our lazy and worthless get good windows. Can’t have their big screen TVs (another commodity I can’t afford) getting hurt by a draft of cold air; plasma doesn’t take kindly to cold air.

    • heykev says:

      I’m in a similar “blissful” situation. My one-bedroom apartment had it’s windows repaired on the day before the blizzard hit here near Chicago. Still not an ideal situation, but at least I’m no longer freezing.

      The Plasma also takes more electricity than other big screen TV’s so now you know why they are also getting subsidized electricity to go along with their new windows.

      Pro – do you think this will ever get repealed – let alone every damn penny of it?

    • proreason says:

      If it doesn’t, then it’s a clear indication the Republicans have signed their Junior Ruling Class membership cards.

    • TerryAnne says:

      Feel for ya, heykev! You guys have it far worse than us – what with the weather and the huge preponderence of ghetto trash. For what it’s worth, that mini-ghetto in Alexandria does stay relatively clean; the people there do maintain the property well and any crime (for some unknown reason) stays very local…when there are $1.5 million+ townhouses a block away.

      But it’s the principle of Robin Hood-itis that drives me nuts!! I’m not a hugely materialistic person who’s only real splurges used to be on clothes and purses; I even shocked myself making the comment about the TV as I haven’t (and refuse to) purchased cable in 13 years and, when my parents suggested buying me a big screen TV as my Christmas present this year, I laughed at them. I’m trying to look at the near dead economy as a good thing, as it has taught me to weigh the value of each purchase and cut back on frivolous stuff; however, I shouldn’t feel guilty every time I go to buy a little “pick me up”, either…which is the way it’s going. Not the guilty as “oh, the poor can’t afford a $35 bottle of sulfur facial mask, so I shouldn’t either”; it’s the, “crap. Could that have helped in my paltry savings for a townhouse so I can get a tax break and quit getting raped by the taxman?” :p

      As a plus: Bed, Bath and Beyond has the adjustable draft thingys that you can put at the base of windows and adjust to fit the width. Since I’ve added those to my wall of windows, my heating bill has gone down $10 each month this winter! :) I think they were only about $10-15 a piece; but, to me, that’s cheap for the benefit it’s given.

    • wardmama4 says:

      Ah yes here – the city is in the red so deep – if it were a person, it would be declared dead, the usual – teachers, police and fire being laid off – and yet, today blazing across the newspaper (I don’t subscribe but get headlines sent to me) – Work Begins on Streetcar Lines!!!!!!!!!

      The only people who go ‘downtown’ are those who work there, those forced by appts, court hearings and on certain days – those going to the stadiums (yes that is plural – which we are all watching our property tax – (get this in the county – we can’t vote on city issues but they can RAISE our taxes for their decisions) go up to pay for the stupid stadiums – and somehow next year they will also get us to pay for the casino and this stupid street car thing).

      I truly hate liberals – You can’t cut anything, NO, NO, NO. Well sugar, when the entire World economy (which you duplicitous liars have interconnected and intertwined for decades with your beloved Globalization (on the way to a OneWorldOrder) collapses – guess what – it’s all going to be history – all of it. Better to cut and live for another day than fail as completely as you want it all to fail.

      Because in the end the military and the Constitution ‘clinging to’ people are the ones with the guns and ammo – which are the great equalizers.

  5. proreason says:

    Who cares what has been “spoken for”? Who did the “speaking for”? lol. Rhetorical question.

    Repeal every damn penny of that criminal act.

  6. Georgfelis says:

    “…in many cases have already been awarded and just haven’t been formally put under contract,” said Liz Oxhorn, the White House’s spokeswoman ….”

    If the contract has not been signed, it is not a contract yet,and the money can be pulled back. You can bet the contracting officers in the Government are signing things so fast their pens are smoking.

  7. merkelerk says:

    Folks, have no fear. The writing was on the wall last October. The Dems have locked that money away long ago (and likely more that we don’t know about yet).

  8. BillK says:

    So remember, if you were planning a vacation trip to Hawaii and lose your job, you still have to go because those funds are “already in the pipeline” and “planning is already underway.”

    Thanks, AP!

  9. Liberals Demise says:

    This money has been promised as political folly and youse people best tend to youse own affairs.
    (LD touches his index finger to the side of his nose)

  10. eaglewingz08 says:

    Look at those weasel words, “obligations to state and local government”, “planning is underway”, and “promised taxpayer relief”. I’ve been following state and local government spending of the stimulus and almost nothing went to taxpayer relief, most went to ‘infrastructure’ or ‘education’ or government boondoggles the locals didn’t want their own money spent on. There’s still a lot to be recovered and the repubs should not hesitate to do so before the democrap thieves can steal these funds.

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