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Friday, December 18, 2009

More Data Suggests Politicalization of the Stimulus

A report released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University suggests stimulus dollars thus far have been doled out without regard to the levels of unemployment in a particular area. Instead, the report found, "Democratic districts received 1.6 times more awards than Republican ones" and "Democratic districts also received 1.89 times more stimulus dollars than Republican districts."

It had been reported from the beginning that the stimulus was crafted to reward favored industries. This news that distribution is also favoring a particular party is yet another strike against the increasingly unpopular bill. Fox News reports:
"You would think, right, that if the administration believes in its theory that government money can create jobs, they would spend a lot of money in districts that have high unemployment," study co-author Veronique de Rugy said. "We found absolutely no relationship. It just kind of shows that the money is spent kind of randomly."

Rather, the study found that Democratic congressional districts received 1.89 times more money than GOP districts. The average award for Democratic districts was $439 million, while the average award for Republican ones was $232 million.

On average, Democratic districts also got 152 awards, while Republican ones got 94.
The data is sure to fuel skepticism about the $787 billion stimulus bill passed in February that only garnered three Republican votes. While the administration claims it has created 640,000 jobs, critics point to the still-soaring 10 percent unemployment rate in arguing that the stimulus has had a nominal effect.

Oddly, the Mercatus study found far more stimulus money went to higher-income areas than lower-income areas.

"We found no correlation between economic indicators and stimulus funding. Preliminary results find no effect of unemployment, median income, or mean income on stimulus funds allocation," the report said.

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