Watch That Stimulus
Stimulus Watch looks like a website that probably should have been around long before the stimulus package: a thumbnail glance at all of the "...
Stimulus Watch looks like a website that probably should have been around long before the stimulus package: a thumbnail glance at all of the "shovel-ready" projects eligible for federal dollars, as well as a "vote" on whether the project is critical or not. I should note, as the site notes, that these are simply eligible projects and that none has been selected for the stimulus package.
Obviously, Stimulus Watch is prone to the same vote stuffing that usually affects online balloting. And the comments aren't really of the "high-minded discussion" variety. At first review, it appears to be exactly what you'd expect: less a reasoned analysis of the merits and drawbacks of specific spending plans and more a referendum on typologies of public investment. Yea on veterans nursing homes; nay on more dog parks (at least federally funded dog parks).
I'm not sure how to read the fact that most of the projects on the site get lots negative votes, while a very few get a slim number of positive votes. Are there not many good projects out there? Is this a second-order rejection of the government infrastructure stimulus in general? Or is it simply an artifact of self-selecting "vocal minority" voters and the handful of projects that have been listed on the site so far?
I lean toward the last answer -- just a small, unrepresentative sample -- but I'd also be curious about the reaction if Americans could see a complete list of the projects that will eventually receive stimulus dollars. I wonder if we'd let out a collective "Is that the best we can do?" The Economist suggests that some states are better than others -- and that 19 states make all their requests public. Would people say, "I want more of what Massachusetts is having?"
Still, an open online forum on all the public works projects up for federal funding is long overdue. Perhaps fewer dog-park-to-nowhere proposals would get serious consideration if such a site existed all the time.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Public Finance: Bankruptcy Scares, Superdowngrades and Shopping in Pennsylvania2 days ago
Illinois Governor Makes Cuts to Health Care for State's Poor2 days ago
All Students at a Seattle High School Refuse to Take Standardized Tests2 days ago
Arkansas Legislative Session Ends With Unfinished Business2 days ago
Dear Obama, This Is Why Maine's Governor Opposes a New National Park2 days ago
Florida House Seeks End to Budget Stalemate2 days ago