It’s a trivial matter, with no connection whatsoever to the obscene congressional tweets that demand our attention in these troubled times, but President Obama’s widely ridiculed stimulus bill has brought unprecedented transparency and accountability to federal spending, which is why it’s been virtually fraud-free. So now the Obama administration is expanding the Recovery Act’s approach to the rest of the government, an important step towards…what? Really? There’s rehab for that kind of thing?
OK, so the new Campaign to Cut Waste is probably more interesting to stimulus junkies like me than to ordinary Americans. And in fairness, the first White House campaign to cut waste—a paltry $100 million exercise modeled after the movie Dave— was a preposterous PR scheme. But this one is real. It’s about extending the independent oversight that’s kept the Recovery Act honest—including a high-tech war room that uses complex algorithms to suss out dubious grants—to every taxpayer dollar. The Administration is already selling off vacant federal properties, shutting down data servers, scaling back no-bid contracts and cracking down on improper payments.
But people don’t seem to care about the details of government waste. They just care about abstract “government waste.” The facts seem especially irrelevant when it comes to the stimulus, which really has begun to change the way Washington spends money, and has created millions of jobs, but still has a reputation as a sinkhole that didn’t create any jobs. , Obama recently visited a North Carolina lighting manufacturer that’s added more than 700 jobs since it received a stimulus grant to produce LED’s that will reduce our energy dependence, our carbon footprint and our electricity bills, but everyone knows that Obama promised the Recovery Act would keep unemployment below 8%, so obviously the entire $787 billion was wasted.
The moral of the story, needless to say, is that “Weiner” is a very funny name.