Obama Stimulus Money to Study Stimulus

The Coburn-McCain report titled Summertime Blues is full Stimulus projects to promote the Stimulus and ObamaCare.  This report is a must read for all conservatives who care about our fiscal future.  If President Obama is willing to spend your tax dollars on how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine, he is willing to squander your tax dollars on any and all government waste.


The left is grasping at straws to defend the Monkey Cocaine Stimulus grant.  Greg Sargent of the Plum Line at the Washington Post provided a weak defense to why stimulus monies are being given to Wake Forest to “study how monkeys react under cocaine.”  Sargent wrote:

But the report didn’t tell you why the monkeys’ reaction to cocaine is being studied: To develop our understanding of how the brain chemistry of addiction works, in order to better combat drug addiction.  Administration officials say this grant was part of the roughly $8 billion in stimulus grants that the National Institutes of Health has doled out for scientific research, with the goal of creating jobs while advancing scientific knowledge.

What Sargent didn’t say is that according to the President’s own web site, Recovery.gov, this Stimulus project created 0.43 of a job.  One can debate the merits of the program, but even Sargent can’t dispute the fact that this program, given to a university in the name of Stimulus, did not even create one job.

I have found four projects that will provide Stimulus monies to promote the Stimulus and provide propaganda for other Obama Administration priorities.  I eagerly await Sargent’s defense of the below the fold projects. 

The first one is for a Public Relations firm in New York to produce propaganda to promote the Obama Administration’s Health Information Technology issues.

32. Public Relations Firm Wins Big Stimulus Bucks (New York, NY) – $25.8 million

What do you do when a key government program is unpopular with the general public? In the case of the stimulus, you sign a multi-million dollar contract with a public relations firm previously embroiled in controversy. For some time, the Administration’s push for health information technology systems has been facing significant public resistance because of privacy concerns.  In response, the Department of Health and Human Services spent $25.8 million on a contract with Ketchum Inc. to help win over public opinion.  Ketchum was criticized before, however, on other governmental work. The reason?  Producing fake TV news stories for government agencies.


The Recovery.Gov website has a grant listed to Ketchum, Inc. for $18,703,430 to Ketchum, Incorporated, located at 2000 L St NW, Ste 300, Washington, DC 20036.  The website lists 1.57 full time employees created as a result of this money.  That works out to 11,913,012 per job.  Maybe I am not understanding the code used by the Obama Administration, but this seems to clearly state that only 1.57 jobs were created by the grant of $18.7 million to one New York based PR firm.  See the description below for yourself.

Recovery Act funding for this project resulted in the creation or retention of 1.57 FTEs at Ketchum for the Recovery Act funded period of performance covered by this report, as calculated following the current guidance. However, only one invoice was submitted during the quarter, covering a five week period. For the activities performed in the completion of contract goals, the 1.57 FTEs represent jobs retained due to Recovery Act funding. These jobs involved research, analysis, strategic planning, communications, and similar professional services for the project, focused on the prepartion and start-up phase of this communication project. Jobs also involved administrative support necessary to successfully and efficiently execute the contract tasks.

Here is what Ketchum, Inc. has provided for millions in your tax dollars in the name of Stimulus:

Participated in kick-off meeting. Met with ONC program leads to determine communication needs. Developed and delivered final work plan and strategic plan. Developed and delivered graphic campaign identity. Conducted interviews of stakeholders to inform messaging. Submitted memo of recommendations for media monitoring. Coordinated with former contractor to take over weekly ONC reports; ONC Twitter account; public inquiry function; design and maintenance of website and internal portal. Developed communication strategies for Beacon and REC programs. Provided meeting support for several work groups, hearings and meetings hosted by ONC. Delivered materials development recommendations and timeline for ONC programs.


Set up a Twitter Account.  Are you !@#$ kidding me?  This is what millions in your money paid for?  If you are part of the mass of unemployed Americans, this should make your blood boil.

If that was not enough, I found in the Coburn-McCain report a project to study American voter’s perceptions of the Stimulus.

45. Understanding Perceptions of the Economic Stimulus (Dallas, TX & Houston, TX) – $193,956

If stimulus advocates aim to please the American voter, they should probably talk to the researchers at Rice University, Houston and the University of Texas, Dallas, where the National Science Foundation shelled out stimulus dollars to study people’s perceptions of the stimulus. Specifically, the study’s results are to be used to “estimate the impact of stimulus funds on the perceptions of citizens and the choices of local community decision makers.” It would probably be a safe bet that if citizens knew that stimulus funds were being used to fund research on their perception on the stimulus, it would sway them in a negative direction.

This one shows up at Recovery.Gov as $134,018 for Rice University or the purposes of investigating “the ways that citizens and policy makers attend to stimulus funds under the Recovery Act of 2009.” This grant created 0.75 of a job.  According to Recovery.gov, the University of Texas at Dallas recieved $59,938 in funds for the same project and they reported the creation of 0.99 jobs.  Below is the bizarre description of the almost one job created at UT Dallas.

As an institute of Higher Education, UT Dallas is principally engaged in educating students and performing research. The effect of this award is to support the university’ research enterprise. As the prime recipient, university has retained and/or created jobs in the following categories: Undergraduates, Faculty, Research Science Associate Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, Post-Doctoral Fellows in accordance with awarded budget.


This is a classic example of how this Administration makes up the amount of jobs “saved or created.”  How can a university create 0.99 or 0.75 of a job.  I would assume they thought they needed to claim the creation of a fraction of a job to justify the funds.

The next Obama Stimulus grant is money to pay for students to watch TV.  “Scholars” at the University of Michigan and Princeton are using your tax dollars to “the ways that the ‘media priming effect’ can be measured.”

64. Are Viewers Primed by Prime-Time Politics? (Princeton, NJ & Ann Arbor, MI) -$317,216

By changing the criteria voters use to evaluate their political candidates and politics, the media undoubtedly affect mass preferences. Now scholars at the University of Michigan and Princeton University will use stimulus funds to study the ways that the “media priming effect” can be measured.  “In particular, results will bear on how, when, and why campaigns affect candidate evaluations and policy opinion.” While quantifying the effects of media priming might be valuable to politicians trying to get elected or those trying to manipulate media consumers, most Americans would probably just rather change the channel.

This project is not Stimulus again.  The left might argue that there is some redeeming quality for the project, but President Obama promised to save or create jobs.  Grant to Princeton and the University of Michigan to study campaigns are pure waste.

The last one to highlight today is a project that the National Institute of Health spent $363,760 to Palladian Partners, Inc. to promote the impact of a Stimulus project.


93. NIH Spends Stimulus Money to Promote the Impact of Its Stimulus Projects (Silver Spring, MD) – $363,760

When does a federal project cross the line from simple self-promotion into propaganda? Palladian Partners Inc. of Silver Spring, Maryland was awarded $363,760 to promote the good things being done with stimulus money by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project requires Palladian to develop “web-based real life stories that underscore job and infrastructure creation and accelerated ARRA research findings.”548  Indeed, interested citizens can go to the NIH Recovery Act website and learn about the $12.2 million stimulus grant NIH is spending on “Facebook for Scientists” and another story on how “Researchers Pull in Big Bucks Under Recovery Act.”

Palladian Partners, Inc., 8484 Georgia Ave., Suite 200, Silver Spring, MD 20910 received $363,760 for a project that created no jobs according to Recovery.gov to do the following:

During this quarter, Palladian posted many more stories describing NIH ARRA-funded projects. There are now 400 stories on the website, including articles reposted from other institutions (with permission), links to other NIH stories, and original stories. The interactive state map allows visitors to view a list of stories describing projects in that state, as well as a quick link to the RePORTER database to view a list of all NIH ARRA-funded projects in that state. Featured topics on the website now include Nanomedicine, Minority Health, and Genomic Medicine.

If you look at the web site of Palladianpartners, you find a National Institute of Health (NIH) web site dedicated to government funded propaganda on different Stimulus projects funded by the NIH.  Zero new jobs for $363,760 of your hard earned tax dollars.


Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) have documented what the Obama Administration has spent $862 billion in so called “Stimulus” monies to date.  These are a few of the 100 projects documented in the report. 

Other projects highlighted by the report include the following:

  1. President Obama approved a study that costs you $144,541 to provide money to Wake Forest University to study how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine.  According to Recovery.gov this “Stimulus” money has created 0.43 jobs. 
  2. President Obama has approved a study that costs $1.9 million of your tax dollars to listen to foreign Ants to California Academy of Sciences.   
  3. President Obama has approved $296,385 of your tax dollars being used to study dog domestication
  4. President Obama has approved a study that costs $141,002 to provide money to Montana State University to study Dinosaur eggs in China.  This one created 0 jobs according to Recovery.gov.

This is merely 4 programs in the 100 documented by the Coburn-McCain report.  Americans should demand an explanation from elected officials on why they allowed tax money to be squandered on these projects that don’t save or create jobs.


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