Prior to signing his federal “stimulus” bill in early 2009, President Obama warned, “If we do not move swiftly to sign (the act) into law, an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe.”
Here in North Carolina, Governor Perdue similarly declared that we were “facing the consequences of the national economic crisis,” and that failure to pass the stimulus bill would “jeopardize the education of our children and the health care of our citizens.” She further noted that the stimulus will help “create jobs, stimulate the economy, and provide relief to North Carolina’s families.”
One year later, the debate over the stimulus bill’s effectiveness rages on. A close inspection of stimulus grants and contracts awarded to North Carolina reveals a rather questionable strategy for the disbursement of stimulus funds. Many projects seem completely unrelated to avoiding an economic “catastrophe,” but rather an ad hoc satisfaction of countless dubious wish lists.
The Civitas Institute poured through the federal website charged with tracking stimulus spending, and created the following list – The 10 Worst Federal Stimulus Projects in North Carolina.
1. Study of monkeys using cocaine: $71,623
Wake Forest University was granted money to “study the effects of self-administering cocaine on the glutamate system on monkeys.” Well, at least the monkeys will be stimulated.
2. North Carolina Dance Theatre: $50,000
This grant is used to retain four professional dancers from the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s second company. Nice for them, but why are tax dollars financing what should be a privately-funded philanthropic organization?
3. Reducing hot flashes through yoga: $147,694
Funds granted to Wake Forest University to study “preliminary data on the efficacy of integral yoga for reducing menopausal hot flashes.” The President warned us that the stimulus plan was needed to avoid an economic “catastrophe.” How does this study help revive the economy?
Nearly half a million taxpayer dollars will go toward funding more propaganda selling the “benefits” of the stimulus plan. The federal government created the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, while North Carolina established the Office of Economic Recovery & Investment for these very purposes. Apparently, that’s just not enough propaganda.
This grant to UNC-Charlotte will fund the development of computer technology to digitally record the dance moves of performers. The recorded movements can then be reviewed and manipulated by a computer program. Although creating virtual-reality type technology for dance movements may be interesting to those involved, how does this serve to “protect the education of our children”? At an average salary of roughly $47,000, this money could have saved 16 North Carolina teacher jobs.
6. American Dance Festival, Inc.: $50,000
A graphic designer and archivist will retain their jobs thanks to this grant. The American Dance Festival hosts dance classes, workshops and engages in other charitable activities to help support dancers. How will this help reverse a major international financial crisis, exactly?
Why are taxpayers from across the country forced to finance construction of a local government office? This is a classic case of earmark pork spending.
With the help of this grant, the Institute was able to retain its executive director. Will this help “provide relief to North Carolina’s families”?
We were promised that the stimulus was going to “save jobs.” We were never told it would also help preserve dead bugs.
10. Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: $50,000
These funds are used to retain the GSO’s director of marketing and education manager. More bailouts of what should be a privately-funded organization.