Economic Stimulus Plan

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Economic Stimulus Plan

Three issues have dominated the debate about ARRA since data on the distribution of funds and the bill’s putative job impacts were made available to the public. The first concerns the levels of transparency and accountability for the dollars spent for stimulus projects. From its inception, the official website that detailed the allocation of funds, was widely criticized for inaccurate and erroneous figures. As information from the website became available in Fall 2009 media investigations revealed money spent in congressional districts that did not exist—from New Mexico’s “13th, 35th, and 40th” districts and South Carolina’s “25th district,” to the “15th” congressional district in Arizona and seven non-existent districts in California, including district 99. The group discovered that $6.4 billion had allegedly been spent in 440 of these “phantom” congressional districts. In a different twist, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) uncovered 4,000 line items for which no money had been spent but 50,000 full-time jobs had allegedly been created. While inputting errors were largely responsible for the faulty data, media reports on the inaccuracies did little to inspire confidence in the general public about either the efficacy of the stimulus package or governmental oversight.

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