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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stimulus Bloats the Federal Government

USA Today is reporting:
The $787 billion economic recovery package also is stimulating growth in the federal government as agencies hire thousands of workers and spend millions of dollars to oversee and implement the package, according to government records and spokesmen.

Fourteen of the top federal agencies responsible for spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act say they've hired about 3,000 workers with stimulus money. That's helped fuel the continued growth of the federal government, which increased by more than 25,000 employees, or 1.3%, since December 2008, according to the latest quarterly report. During that time, the ranks of the nation's unemployed increased by nearly 4 million, Labor Department statistics show.

Overall, there are about 2 million federal workers, the data show.

Thirteen agencies that report stimulus-related administrative expenses separately on their weekly spending reports say they've spent $186.8 million so far on salaries and other overhead. Those agencies have reported spending $46.1 billion in stimulus funds overall.
This helps to explain another stimulus problem that has begun manifesting itself, the bureaucracy responsible for transparency is crushing any hope of it, according to Reuters:
U.S. President Barack Obama's pledge to flood Americans with information about economic stimulus spending could misfire, the independent Congressional auditor said on Wednesday.

The volume of information required for a report due next month may be creating problems with the quality of data, the Government Accountability Office said in a special report.

"This unprecedented level of detailed information to be reported by a large number of recipients into a new centralized reporting system raises possible risk for the quality and reliability of these data," said the report. …

Other problems identified by the GAO include states, which provide a large portion of the data, not being reimbursed by the federal government at a rate that covers the costs of collecting and reporting it.

"These additional costs can exacerbate states' existing fiscal stress," said the report.

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