I’m going to be reading the stimulus bill over the next few days. I’m hoping to put my thoughts up for some discussion. First of all, I went into it with an open mind. I wanted to be convinced this would be a good idea.
Thus far, not convinced. The first thing you notice after we get to the nitty gritty is that there are going to be a lot of committees. Lots. Quarterly reports and monthly reports and bi-monthly reports. The most odd thing? Annual reports.
I see no reason for Annual Reports for something that won’t get made till March at the earliest and is supposed to be over by 2010. This makes me very hesistant — maybe it isn’t supposed to go away? We should put in the stimulus bill that it cannot be extended by any way. There currently is a time when it closes, but the bill can just be patched (much like the Alternative Minimum Tax) to extend it longer. That is unacceptable. One change that needs to be made is that it cannot be amended. To let you know the minimum it can be around now, 2012. Why does an emergency measure to fix our current economic problem need to last until the next presidential election?
“In using funds made available in this Act for infrastructure investment, recipients shall give preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously, including a goal of using at least 50 percent of the funds for activities that can be initiated not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.”
I don’t know about you — but 4 months or so is a long time. That’s hardly “fast” in an economy, I’d imagine. But, any quicker and you couldn’t get all your reports done before the disbursement, I suppose.
As an aside:
SEC. 1109. PROHIBITED USES.
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
I find it really odd to link zoos with casinos. So, I guess our National Zoo isn’t getting any thing? They had some construction languishing last I was there. Poor Smithsonian, no bailout for you. That’s what you get for letting your Chairmen set executive salaries. Cause we know that’s open for abuse.
SEC. 1225. STAFFING.
(a) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.—The Chairman of the Board may appoint and fix the compensation of an executive director and other personnel as may be required to carry out the functions of the Board. The Director shall be paid at the rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.
Don’t worry. If you have issues with the Board, there’s a LOT of reporting. So we know that means oversight. Plus, they can CONTRACT OUT more transparency:
“(e) CONTRACTS.—The Board may enter into contracts to enable the Board to discharge its duties under this Act.”
But, all these reports, committees and contractors will be totally transparent. You can tell because they will make a website. On the internet:
“(a) REQUIREMENT TO ESTABLISH WEBSITE.—The Board shall establish and maintain a website on the Internet to be named Recovery.gov, to foster greater account1ability and transparency in the use of funds made avail1able in this Act.”
We haven’t even gotten to how the money is going to be spent and I’m not thrilled. But hey, at least there’ll be a website. That’s Accountability!