Sunday, March 8, 2009

A List of the Lollipops

Here is a veritable treasure trove of information about how stimulus money might be spent, especially intriguing because you can register your opinion! Citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed "shovel-ready" projects in their own cities can find, discuss and rate those unaffordable lollipops, from the new silver led recreation center in Annapolis, Maryland, to the Tannery Arts Center Working Studios in Santa Cruz, CA. If you are already familiar, you can even go so far as to use the wiki feature to add the facts you know right into the description. If you don't know about a project near you, maybe you would like to give your local officials a call and start asking questions. Your local officials will spend the money more wisely if they know you are watching.

Obama has promised to invest stimulus money in a wise way and now it is up to us to make sure that happens, holding public officials to account for the FEDERAL taxpayer money they spend for their local projects. Should federal moneys be used in this way? No. It is not the province of the federal government to tax the citizens all over the land in order to help local areas clean up playgrounds and make nice little bike trails and outdoor museums, etc, etc. After all, the job of the federal government is to pay for federal responsibilities, like defense. But as Obama and Pelosi have pointed out time and time again, they won the election. So they are going to engage in this crazy big spending anyway. Let's just not roll over, however, and let them fritter away this money without hearing an earful from us.

The lollipops on this list of stimulus projects seem to come in two varieties:

ONE: Projects which the local population do not believe are worthy of funding. We all have limited finances, and therefore, we have to set priorities. It is safe to assume that large numbers of items on this list are items the locals did not feel were worthy of their own local tax dollars!

TWO: Projects which the locality had already budgeted money for. (The jurisdiction involved will now simply shift the moneys, and spend their own local taxpayer money on something else). Kind of a shell game, with the federal taxpayer (that would be you and me) being the dupe.

You can find projects by searching or by browsing by locality or program type. Once you find a program, there are three things you can do:

1) vote on whether you believe the project is critical or not; (and see how others are voting)

2) edit the project's description and points in favor or against, and

3) post a comment in the conversation about the project.

Dig in, and let us know what you find. A lot of this stuff sounds just lovely and sweet, as unaffordable lollipops so very often do. But other projects are just unabashed horrendous wastes.

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