06 May 2009

Americans Deputized to Bail Out Incapable Government

Remember way back when President Obama promised that Americans would be able to track "every dime" of the $787 billion stimulus bill? Well, rest assured, he has every intention of keeping his promise. It just won't happen in the near future. And by "every dime", he means "every dime that we on Capitol Hill decide you need to see." Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which manages www.recovery.gov, said the government's website currently shows the programs being funded by the stimulus money, but won't actually show where exactly the money is going until at least October. And that projected date is optimistic at best. Devaney told a House subcommittee on Tuesday that it will be a challenge to have the information available and online in just 5 months (he actually said that they don't have enough storage capacity to track all the information).

But even if the White House can manage to find a server powerful enough to track the equivalent of a 689 mile high stack of $100 bills, you and I won't be able to see exactly who gets the money. As it stands, the administration is only requiring the first 2 recipients of funding to report the usage of stimulus money. So if a state gets funding, and then gives it to a city, that's all you get to see. You won't be able to find out which contractors or agencies will actually be getting the money. Nice, huh?

So who's going to fill in the gaps in tracking government spending? Why, you and I are, of course!
"We are, in essence, deputizing the entire American citizenry to help with the oversight of this program," said Rep. Brad Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology's subcommittee on investigations and oversight.

I'm going to have millions of citizens to help me," he said, comparing run-of-the-mill Americans to inspectors general, the high-ranking officials charged with ferreting out waste and abuse in federal agencies.

"I'm going to have a million little IGs running around," the chairman said Tuesday after his testimony before the subcommittee.

And perhaps that's just as well, given the turnout of the panel tasked with keeping track of thousands of millions of dollars. Just three of the 10 members bothered to show up for the subcommittee's second meeting.
Wow. It's great to know that the Obamanation is taking its job so seriously. And since we're all a bunch of "little IGs running around," does that mean we're going to get subpoena power? Be able to execute search warrants? Make arrests? Just call me Deputy Dawg.

On a side note, when asked at the hearing how the board would be able to verify Obama's claim that the stimulus money will create of save 4 million jobs, Devaney responded, "Sir, we haven't really received any information about that on the Web site." What? The government is clueless? Simply shocking.

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