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Monday, January 4, 2010

Stimulus Money Went to Zip Codes THAT DON'T EXIST


To put it kindly there have been many issues with the execution of the stimulus bill passed by the progressive Democrats in Congress nine months ago without so much as peeking at what was in it. The latest issue is that (at least in New Mexico) money was spent in Zip Codes that do not exist.

After the  Pokulus bill was passed Americans were assured that everything would be on the "up and up". The SHMOTUS, Joe Biden was going to make sure of it. On March 12th Biden, told us that we were going to be protected from stupid uses of the $787 billion dollar stimulus money:
So if this -- six months from now, if the verdict on this effort is that we've wasted the money, we built things that were unnecessary, or we've done things that are legal but make no sense, then, folks, don't look for any help from the federal government for a long while. They're going to make sure -- the folks in the House and in the Senate are going to make sure you wear the jacket, not them.
This is a big deal -- this is a big deal. It's also being closely watched not just by me, but by the President, and by Mr. Devaney, who is one of the most respected IGs we have in the federal government, and is known by many of you. And it's also being watched by the taxpayers and it's being watched by the media.
That's right because NOBODY messes with Joe!

Despite all of that oversight from our Vice President and President, our money has been thrown to hundreds of really stupid projects. My particular favorite is the $300,000 spent on Mapping Radioactive Rabbit Feces (there are something you just cant make up).

Then of course there are all of those jobs created and saved. No economist had ever heard the term until the SHMOTUS started using it, and most will tell you that it was among the most ridiculous things they had ever heard. And they used this bogus measurement in bogus ways, You remember things like three jobs saved by a lawn-mower, or the $6 million in stimulus money give to Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster to preserve three jobs (I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that the Clinton campaign still owed Penn's firm tons of money).

Many of these bogus saved or created jobs were in 440 congressional districts that were reported to have generated jobs, but they didn't exist (I was thinking of running for Congress myself in New York's 71st Congressional District).

The latest mess is that if you look at where recovery.gov reports stimulus fund being spent, it includes Zip Codes that don't exist.  According to Watchdog.org, in New Mexico alone there was $26.5 Million spent in Zip codes that do not exist.

Last month, we reported  on federal stimulus money credited with creating jobs in nonexistent New Mexico Congressional districts. Further examination of the most recent report on the recipients and uses of New Mexico’s share of the $787 billion stimulus shows jobs created and money going to zip codes that do not exist.

New Mexico Watchdog broke what became a national news story, and fodder for Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert. The website launched by the Obama Administration to track the destinations of billions of dollars of stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act showed billions going to nonexistent Congressional districts. The website, recovery.gov, reported $26.5 million going to ten New Mexico Congressional districts that do not exist. Those millions were credited with creating 61.5 jobs. Spadework  by our Watchdog counterparts in other states showed a total of $6.4 billion reported as being allocated to 440 nonexistent, or “phantom,” Congressional districts.

The agency charged with tracking the stimulus funds, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, attempted to eliminate this embarrassment by lumping all the billions reported going to nonexistent Congressional districts into a new category called the “unassigned” Congressional district.
Closer examination of the latest recovery.gov report for New Mexico shows hundreds of thousands of dollars sent to and credited with creating jobs in zip codes that do not exist in New Mexico or anywhere else. Moreover, funds reported as being spent in New Mexico were given zip codes corresponding to areas in Washington and Oregon.

The recovery.gov site reports that $373,874 was spent in zip code 97052. Unfortunately, this expenditure created zip jobs. But $36,218 was credited with creating 5 jobs in zip code 87258. A cool hundred grand went into zip code 86705, but didn’t result in even one person finding work.
None of these zip codes exist in New Mexico, or anywhere else, for that matter.The recovery.gov report also credits New Mexico with $131,139, though the zip codes receiving these funds (but creating no jobs) are in fact located in DuPont, Washington, Richland, Washington, and Gales Creek, Oregon.
These errors were found by checking the zip codes reported at recovery.gov against the United States Postal Service’s on-line zip code locator . Coming on top of our discovery of millions of dollars reportedly going to ten phantom New Mexico Congressional Districts, this latest discovery confirms that the data released by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, at least for New Mexico, contains serious errors. All told, we have found over $27 million dollars that has been reported as going to either nonexistent Congressional districts or nonexistent zip codes.

As in the case of the phantom Congressional districts, the dollar magnitude of the errors we found in little New Mexico was eclipsed by the repetition of these glaring reporting errors across the nation. If we can find nonexistent zip codes, we have no doubt that our counterparts in other states, which have received much more money, will again be able to repeat and expand upon our results for the Land of Enchantment.

The next quarterly report tracking stimulus funds, and reporting jobs created or saved by expenditure of those funds, is scheduled to be posted by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board on January 30, 2010. The reports are docketed for quarterly releases. The discovery of errors, raising questions about the integrity and accuracy of the data, have occurred with the release of every report.
 One would think that after the announcement of the phantom 440 Congressional districts, the President's office of management and budget (which runs recovery.org) would have gone through their numbers with a fine toothed come to make sure that their were no more stupid mistakes.  Of course that would indicate concern for what the American people think, something the Obama administration has not done so far.

If the federal government cannot get easy things correct, like congressional districts and Zip Codes, just how the heck are they going to run something complicated like Health Care?

My Friend Donald who edits a great blog called American Power Sent me this incredible video which puts an exclamation mark on this post

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