The unemployment news in my state is not good. During the most severe part of the Great Recession, nationally, the unemployment rate in New York averaged just above 8%. As of August 2012, the unemployment rate in New York stands at 9.1%, nearly a full percentage point higher than a year ago. Considering this news, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the stimulus package tracking at recovery.gov to see where the money went. Interestingly enough, New York State was the second largest recipient of recovery funds with $17B awarded of which $14B has been received and 8,726 jobs have been reported over three and a half years.
While I was looking at the webpage, I noticed a red button at the top that is labeled “Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse,” and I had a nearly irresistible urge to click on the button and report the entire act for spending $1.5M per job at a rate $432K per year. In the funds breakdown, nearly half of the award for New York, $6B, was spent on education with transportation being the next largest category, and infrastructure was a very small slice – barely discernible on the provided graph. There was also a feature which allows query by zip code, so I typed mine in and hit go. There was only one recovery award in my town that totaled $100k with zero jobs reported. Considering that out here in Western NY the unemployment problem is much worse than downstate, it’s sort of like being left out in the cold.
Honestly, advocates of fiscal stimulus need a reality check because the entire thing is completely political and has nothing to do with average Joe. Given the shrinkage of the population in New York over the last decade, enough to lose two congressional seats, the education budget probably needed to shrink. Fewer kids mean less need for teachers; only in politics does it mean more teachers and an ever growing education budget. My family already pays $750/mo in property taxes, most of which is for education, which doesn’t include the Federal portion of taxes paid toward that end. The stimulus spending on education just bloated the already out of control situation which will equal even more demands spread across even fewer taxpayers once the money runs out. It disgusts me to the core.