$237.6 Billion has been awarded, but few have seen any real improvement in the economy, other than it hasn’t totally kacked, and unemployment is only at a 26 year high of 10.2%. The White House needs a jobs summit the day before another blistering round of jobs numbers comes out, and as a diversion from the Bernanke circus, Climategate, Barbara Boxer’s continued idiocy, and Waxman advising government control of the press. Let’s also not forget that the bloom is off the rose with the Community Organizer-in-Charge, and he must repair the damage done to his image by bailing out the banks who have used that money to buy each other and kept the adrenaline shot to the economy on hold due to their continued credit freeze.
In the meantime, the small business community, who was not invited to the summit, and employs more Americans than any other segment of business is holding it’s frickin’ breath to see how badly they are going to get bent over on health care, financial system overhaul, and cap & trade. The Washington Post has a story about D.C. contractors living large while “implementing the initiative” of stimulus. Now isn’t that a fine how-do-you-do?
As struggling communities throughout the country wait for more help from the $787 billion stimulus package, one region is already basking in its largess: the government-contractor nexus that is metropolitan Washington.
Reports from stimulus recipients show that a sizable sum has gone to federal contractors in the Washington area who are helping implement the initiative — in effect, they are being paid a hefty slice of the money to help spend the rest of it.
The contractors’ work hardly differs from the basic operations of the federal departments hiring them. The Energy Department is paying Technology & Management Services, a Gaithersburg firm, $6.9 million to review applications for renewable energy loan guarantees. The Department of Homeland Security awarded Deloitte Consulting’s Arlington branch $8.6 million to provide “program management and support” for the stimulus plan’s $1 billion airport security initiative, and gave McKing Consulting, a Fairfax firm, a $1.5 million contract to review applications for fire department construction funding.
Held against the total stimulus package, the contracts represent a relatively small portion of spending. But they help explain why the Washington area is weathering the recession so well. And, as President Obama convenes a jobs summit Thursday to discuss lagging employment, the contracts raise questions about whether enough funding is getting to areas suffering the most.
Of the stimulus grants and contracts awarded so far, the District has received nearly 10 times as much per capita as the national average, and Maryland has received more per capita than much harder-hit states, among them Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio. Virginia’s statewide average is relatively low, but of the 496 stimulus contracts the state has received, two-thirds of them, with a total value of $562 million, have gone to Northern Virginia, home to hundreds of contractors.
It is only natural that a surge in government spending would benefit local contractors, said Dave Gallerizzo, a principal at Fig Leaf Software, which won a $1.1 million Interior Department contract to build a computer system for stimulus funding recipients to report back to the government. That enabled Fig Leaf to hire three more people at its office in the District.
$1.1 million for three jobs. I suppose that counts as stimulus, in comparison to this:
The reliance on contractors runs counter to the Obama administration’s vow to reverse the decades-long trend of privatizing government, which accelerated under President George W. Bush. The government is growing — it has added 13,000 employees in the Washington area in the past year, the first increase since the 1970s. But it is still not prepared to handle the stimulus money, said John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.
Go over and read the rest if you can stand it.
Once again, P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C.