Monday, October 5, 2009

Something is rotten in the state of Stimulus

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Heaven will direct it.

Nay, let's follow him. [Exeunt.]

Hamlet Act 1, scene 4, 87–91

There's a reason he says "state of Denmark" rather than just Denmark: the fish is rotting from the head down—all is not well at the top of the political hierarchy.

As so it is with stimulus spending. Show me a government program which cannot be tracked and I will show you a program ripe for abuse (MEIB).

Canada’s stimulus-spending detectives say the federal government is being so miserly with basic information, they’re forced to take extraordinary measures to track just how billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Elaine McCoy, a 63-year-old Alberta senator who used to consort with the likes of former premiers Don Getty and Ralph Klein, is a case in point.

... McCoy hoped to compile government information on stimulus, slice and dice it, and allow Canadians to figure out how government money is working.

Her dream was to give Canadians easy access to the details of the stimulus funds and solicit their feedback on how well the package was working.

But the dream has hit a serious obstacle: McCoy can’t get hold of the facts.

"We started reaching out for data and it wasn’t there," McCoy, a Progressive Conservative senator, said in an interview. ...

But others have run into the same problem as McCoy.

The parliamentary budget officer, the government watchdog on fiscal affairs, is supposed to be tracking the stimulus spending and evaluating how it is affecting Canada’s recovery.

But he, too, is stumbling over a lack of information and now has his hopes pinned on the government fulfilling his request to hand over its entire stimulus database.

The Liberal party, meanwhile, is developing a database of its own. It has taken months and the work of at least 23 volunteers to map out what has happened to the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

They’re producing a riding-by-riding analysis. They say their research suggests a strong political pattern to the distribution of funds.

Don't be surprised if before long we find out that a small percentage (which will amount to a lot of money) has been siphoned off to Conservative Party coffers to make up for lessened fundraising receipts and a high burn rate.

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Maudie Bones said...

Makes Adscam look like small potatoes, eh?

Constant Vigilance said...

If only the media were as inclined to cover it. Perhaps once it becomes so apparent it can't be ignored.

penlan said...

Go here for more on this & there's some good advice at the end of the post.