Two U.S. Senators say that hundreds of millions of the $862 billion in stimulus funds has been squandered at taxpayers expense. U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday released a new report with details on a long list of questionable projects, like “international ant research” and a joint clean energy venture with BP that costed over $300 million.
“Eighteen months since the passage of the stimulus bill, millions of jobs are still gone and the economy is as uncertain as ever. The only thing getting a boost is our national debt. The stimulus has helped push it 23 percent higher, to $13.2 trillion, a new record,” say Coburn and McCain in a release.
The various boondoggles listed in the report include “$89,298 to replace a new sidewalk that leads to a ditch in Boynton, OK” and “$308 million for a joint clean energy venture with…BP”
A large number of the listed boondoggles include scientific research with aims that seem unrelated to the nation’s economy. These include: “$700,000 to study why monkeys respond negatively to inequity … $760,000 Georgia Tech to study improvised music … $456,663 to study the circulation of Neptune’s atmosphere”
The White House has credited the stimulus with averting another Great Depression.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in June 2010 was 9.5 percent, almost the same as June of last year.
"Many economists are forecasting that the debt incurred to pay for these projects increases the risk of a greater economic downturn in the near future," reads the report.
The two Senators say that government’s role is not deciding how it should spend other people’s money but instead making the country work more efficiently and inspiring innovation.
“Washington should focus on re-igniting the unmatched power of the American entrepreneurial spirit by sweeping away government red tape, expanding markets for U.S. goods, making it easier for small businesses to obtain credit, and reducing our national debt by eliminating wasteful Washington spending,” say Coburn and McCain.