Waste Watch: American Recovery Act Ends with Questionable Spending



USACE_J_Percy_Priest_Dam[1]Nashville, TN – A program promised to boost our economy may not be giving us taxpayers what we paid for.    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 cost taxpayers almost a trillion dollars.    And it ends this month with questionable results.

The $840 billion dollar federal stimulus intended to fund projects putting people to work across the country starting in 2009. Percy Priest Dam here in the midstate is one of those sites.

Taxpayers are footing a $2-million dollar bill to paint spillway gates there and at Old Hickory Dam, retaining five jobs.

$3.5 million dollars went to Nashville International Airport for repairs.

3158288502_ec8def0cac[1]Fox 17 found its final quarterly report stating zero jobs created.    And the national numbers are proving disappointing too.

National Taxpayers Union President Pete Sepp says, “We’re still waiting for the original promise that the unemployment rate would be at 5% or lower by December 2013.

“Sepp says taxpayers have every right to be outraged by the American Recovery Act.

While the program is shown to have saved and created more than 500 jobs in Davidson County alone on it’s fourth quarter report of 2013, Sepp worries that won’t last long-term.

“In essence, the stimulus program was a loan designed to boost our economy in the short run and we’d figure out a way to pay it off in the long run.

Well, the short term boost didn’t materialize as promised and now we’re left to deal with the long-term pain.

“2009 video shows a $32 million dollar project to create a sound barrier, 2 flyover ramps and build new retaining walls on I-40 in West Nashville.

This project estimated to put 300 people to work.  But now the project– and the job– is done.The USDA awarded more than $2 million dollars to Davidson County.

Zero jobs were reported for that project in the final quarter required.

Furthermore, that same agency has been called out by its Inspector General’s office, showing ineffective oversight of its projects and fraud ending in 84 convictions, $11 million in recoveries and more than a million dollars in forfeitures and seizures.    It’s among 28 federal agencies paying out this money.

Fox 17 called for answers from those charged with oversight.  The Government Accountability and Transparency Board told us they couldn’t comment.

Though the board is charged with “detecting and re-mediating fraud, waste and abuse” in these federal programs, Fox 17 is told they don’t have this data.

Fox 17 has learned that for a program touting “transparency”, no one has a grand total of how much of the $840 billion dollars has been wasted or fraudulently spent.

Sepp says, “We were promised a lot of oversight and accountability as the funds were being spent.  And yet so many of the transparency reports that were promised of the ongoing progress of the spending either were never released to taxpayers.. or were never done in the first place!

“The ARA expires September 30th.    Sepp says that’s not the end for taxpayers though.    He warns that higher taxes may result as a way to pay off this debt, crippling private sector job growth over the long run.

Source: fox17
Waste Watch: American Recovery Act Ends with Questionable Spending



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