Your community gets stimulus dollars for infrastructure projects only if your community can afford it. In a bizarre variation on pay-for-play, the Associated Press notes, STIMULUS WATCH: Early road aid leaves out neediest

Counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help from President Barack Obama’s plan to spend billions of stimulus dollars on roads and bridges, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Although the intent of the money is to put people back to work, AP’s review of more than 5,500 planned transportation projects nationwide reveals that states are planning to spend the stimulus in communities where jobless rates are already lower.

One result among many: Elk County, Pa., isn’t receiving any road money despite its 13.8 percent unemployment rate. Yet the military and college community of Riley County, Kan., with its 3.4 percent unemployment, will benefit from about $56 million to build a highway, improve an intersection and restore a historic farmhouse.

Altogether, the government is set to spend 50 percent more per person in areas with the lowest unemployment than it will in communities with the highest.

Why is this happening?

The very promise that Obama made, to spend money quickly and create jobs, is locking out many struggling communities needing those jobs.

The money goes to projects ready to start. But many struggling communities don’t have projects waiting on a shelf. They couldn’t afford the millions of dollars for preparation and plans that often is required.

…The early trend seen in the AP analysis runs counter to expectations raised by Obama, that road and infrastructure money from the historic $787 billion stimulus plan would create jobs in areas most devastated by layoffs and plant closings. Transportation money, he said, would mean paychecks for “folks looking for work” and “folks who want to work.”

Don’t expect to see the employment picture change anytime soon.  White House Forecasts No Job Growth Until 2010

The huge cost of the  stimulus bill is contributing to other problems:  White House: Budget deficit to top $1.8 trillion

With the economy performing worse than hoped, revised White House figures point to deepening budget deficits, with the government borrowing almost 50 cents for every dollar it spends this year.

The deficit for the current budget year will rise by $89 billion to above $1.8 trillion — about four times the record set just last year. The unprecedented red ink flows from the deep recession, the Wall St. bailout, the cost of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill, as well as a structural imbalance between what the government spends and what it takes in.

As the economy performs worse than expected, the deficit for the 2010 budget year beginning in October will worsen by $87 billion to $1.3 trillion, the White House says. The deterioration reflects lower tax revenues and higher costs for bank failures, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

Just so you know, it’s still Bush’s fault.

Advertisements