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Accountability of the Scientific Stimulus Funding

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the we-blew-it-on-bubblegum dept.

Government 242

eldavojohn writes "A blog tipped me off to a government site that allows me to see where my tax dollars went when the nebulous 'scientific stimulus' was granted. You might be able to find this information in a bill, but you can click on your state in this interactive site to see what has happened locally to you. Perhaps it's a sign of more government transparency in regards to spending or just more propaganda."

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This is all I've got to say about this. (3, Informative)

AudioInfecktion (1088677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144684)

Exclusive: Jobs 'Saved or Created' in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jobs-saved-created-congressional-districts-exist/story?id=9097853 [go.com]

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144838)

Is this GIGO or lying?

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145468)

Both.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (4, Informative)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144888)

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145108)

I think we should be buying lawnmowers for all the graveyards, since each lawnmower will create 50 jobs.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (4, Informative)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145140)

Such a convenient excuse (if true)... but still doesn't explain all of the fake jobs 'created or saved' in New Hampshire [hotair.com] , Florida and Georgia [hotair.com] , Ohio [hotair.com] , Wisconsin [hotair.com] , New Jersey [google.com] , Virginia [nypost.com] , Texas [dallasnews.com] , Illinois [chicagotribune.com] , Colorado [hotair.com] , Washington [hotair.com] , Massachusetts [hotair.com] , Arkansas [hotair.com] , Connecticut [clickability.com] , or Michigan [hotair.com] .

Given the scope of the fakery going on... there are two options... even more errors, or a deliberate attempt to cook the books.

Giving the amazing failure of the stimulus... the latter is far more likely given the continued delusional claims that it saved us from the brink... instead it is setting us up for a double dip and massive inflation.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145180)

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, especially when it comes to the government.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145728)

Don't assume that malice and stupidity are mutually exclusive.

-jcr

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (5, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145808)

Unless it's the Bush administration, in which case all were evil genius's that knew everything. Obama and his administration, on the other hand, are well-intentioned never-lying non-politician politicians. From Chicago. Infinitely more trustworthy.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146412)

It's interesting how people will defend obvious corruption when there's a Democrat involved.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (0, Offtopic)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146462)

It's only obvious to those not drinking the kool-aid

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146522)

Your post implies people don't do the same thing when it's a Republican. Christ, if you are going to accuse a side of acting childish and turning a blind eye to corruption, don't neglect to mention the other side is doing the same thing.

"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'" -Bill Hicks

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (5, Informative)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145238)

Yes it does... The jobs do exist and you can find them via Zip code instead of district. The reality was that there was no district fact checking and nothing more. You want to blame anyone, blame the people that wrote down the false districts.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145352)

Since when were 400 jobs created with $42,000 or jobs created for $0 for that matter? The government information sites are so fraught with errors (intended or otherwise) that they are just more money wasted by the government to prove that it is corrupt and inept.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (-1, Flamebait)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145538)

At least Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board is a little more honest than our friend jhoegl, given Mr Devaney admits that he cannot certify all of the job data on recovery.gov [abcnews.com] .

Biased much? (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145248)

Sorry, I can't trust any web site with that much obvious bias. hotair.com has obviously decided that Obama sucks, and they will do anything to prove it. I've yet to see anything logical or factual from the Obama haters. Not that I've had any high expectations for Obama, but these loons seem to think he kills old people by throwing babies at them, holds seances to talk to Lenin's ghost, and farts demons. It's hilarious to watch loons like you writhe about in abject terror over the coming End of America.

Re:Biased much? (1, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145500)

Sorry, I can't trust any web site with that much obvious bias.

Citation?

hotair.com has obviously decided that Obama sucks, and they will do anything to prove it.

Citation?

I've yet to see anything logical or factual from the Obama haters.

So you only are listening to the Obama haters and not the Obama disagree-rs? That could explain why you haven't heard much.

Not that I've had any high expectations for Obama,

Oh how I love that style of preamble, claiming to lower expectations while a moment later towing the party line or worse

but these loons seem to think he kills old people by throwing babies at them, holds seances to talk to Lenin's ghost, and farts demons.

Citation?

It's hilarious to watch loons like you writhe about in abject terror over the coming End of America.

Do you by chance see the hilarity of all of this? I provide specific links to specific cases, cases that were simply republished by the site you questioned (which was not the only site I linked to)... and somehow you declare that I am a 'loon' who "writhe about in abject terror over the coming End of America"... all without providing a single example or bit of supporting evidence.

If anything... the arguments you have made have revealed more about your own views than mine.

Re:Biased much? (2, Interesting)

buswolley (591500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145576)

Every time I've visited hotair.com, it turns out to be an article written like an extreme right talking point site, as bad as Rush.

Re:Biased much? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145634)

Sorry, I can't trust any web site with that much obvious bias.

Citation?

How about the fact that it uses the word "Porkulus" as the name of the stimulus bill? Is it at all possible in that context to believe that they're reserving judgement and just reporting facts?

Re:Biased much? (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145786)

I think Brendan should take personal responsibility for his own loans and not look to others to bail him out.

Re:Biased much? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30146128)

Wow, straw man much? And you get an insightful mod for being a dick?

Seems like the bar for just about everything is set a little lower these days.

I'm disappointed; your posts are usually worth reading.

Re:Biased much? (1, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146214)

How can you not get the irony of someone bitching about the bailout while asking to be bailed out? It's like getting hit across the face by a huge freaking BAR of irony, and somehow you missed it.

P.S. My posts are never worth reading, I'm a huge dick, like, ALL THE FREAKING TIME! I really don't understand why I keep getting modded up. Oh wait, it must be because the majority of Slashdot readers, like the majority of Americans, nay, the majority of ALL HUMAN BEINGS ON THE PLANET agree with me.

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145788)

The citation of hotair as a credible site is similar to the mistake of quoting wikipedia-- the sources may or may not be informed or unbiased in a journalistic or even scientific context.

While you replied to someone that's a bit over the top, hotair isn't known for their objectivity-- indeed they're known for their bias. Nonetheless, you might have found supportive data from a more credible source, and I don't necessarily mean the US Gov at all.

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145900)

And yet, I presume you listened to mainstream media (CNN, ABC, etc) when they all decided that they didn't like Bush.

So in other words, your argument: I like Obama, and hotair (and similar journalists) doesn't. Therefore, hotair (etc.) are wrong and I won't listen to them, because they obviously don't know the truth.

I am not so sure that the mainstream media who obviously like Obama are "fair" and "unbiased" in their "reporting" of things. And it actually shocks me that CNN and ABC ran stories about the "jobs" created/saved not really being created/saved ... on a large-scale, I might add, not just a few here and there. It got very, very, VERY little reporting though. In fact, Sarah Palin is getting far more [bad] publicity from the media than the false job reports. Hmmmmmm. A former governor that lost as a VP candidate is getting more coverage than the Obama administration's recovery.gov apparently lying about jobs created/saved by the much-debated stimulus package? I'm sure it's because the media likes Palin and just wants to be nice to her.

Re:Biased much? (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146024)

I don't like Obama, but he's better than Bush. The Mainstream media LOVED Bush. They don't seem to like Obama as much. I really don't know what kind of propaganda you've been listening to, but it seems to have lead you to develop a persecution complex of some sort.

Palin is such an amusing fool, it cheers everyone up to read about her hilarious antics. That sells papers, which is the real bias of 'mainstream' (read, corporate owned and pro corporatist) media.

Re:Biased much? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146420)

The Mainstream media LOVED Bush. They don't seem to like Obama as much

There is not a bridge large enough to contain this troll.

In the New York Times alone, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, 405 stories on the Obama administration have appeared on the front page through mid-August of this year totaling 119,678 column inches. That's 9,973 column feet of Obama coverage on the Times front page alone.

But it is television that has been the most powerful draw for Obama.

As of mid-August, Obama submitted to a total of 66 television interviews, dramatically outstripping his two predecessors, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project at Towson University in Maryland.

During the same period of their own presidencies, President George W. Bush gave 16 television interviews and President Bill Clinton gave just six.

Obama is also out-hustling his predecessors with the print media, giving 36 interviews with newspapers and magazines during his first seven months in office -- nearly doubling the numbers given by Bush and Clinton.

Re:Biased much? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146370)

I find it funny how people never include Fox News when they say "mainstream media".

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (2, Insightful)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145752)

Nothing in your post does anything to contradict the original explanation. There are tens of thousands of projects receiving stimulus funding, and of course there will be some errors and oversights. Any large program will have that, but all that you've provided are a few barely sourced links that at most account for an infinitesimally small percentage of the spending. Given that this is all you have after months of public disclosure on stimulus spending, the only rational conclusion is that the program appears to be running very well. Percentage-wise, it's certainly running at a better loss ratio than any large project I've worked on at major private corporations.

As for the rest of your comment, here's a few tips. Don't go running around spamming links from far right websites like Hotair.com. No objective reader would be any more inclined to believe them than they are to take articles from DailyKos.com as gospel truth. And please, don't make insultingly hyperbolic claims about things like "the amazing failure of the stimulus." We had 3.5% positive GDP growth in the last quarter, which every credible economist attributes primarily to the stimulus package. After all, it's the first positive GDP we've seen in over a year, the best we've seen in more than two, and has broken us out of one of the deepest recessions in our history.

You can certainly argue that the effects of the stimulus are temporary and not worth the long term effects of an increased deficit and higher inflation in the future. I wouldn't agree with you (and I doubt most mainstream economists would) but you can certainly make the argument and provide some evidence to support your position. However, you cannot credibly claim that the stimulus hasn't worked to improve the current state of the economy. Making such claims in defiance of all facts to the contrary is just asinine.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30146340)

You're right, 1.25 billion to Illinois alone is small when contrasted with total dollars spent. That doesn't mean we don't care about the reported results being total nonsense.

Also, you clearly didn't go through many of the links he provided, you just got angry. The Daily Herald is a pretty far left-leaning paper, and even they had to print the numbers.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/chi-education-stimulus-04-nov04,0,4659134.story [chicagotribune.com]

Enjoy.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146360)

While the public works projects are probably helping to save jobs, I only need to drive a block from work to see how the money is being wasted.

Recently a very short portion of a road was repaved (1/4 mile at most). The road gets little traffic, at the end of the 1/4 mile you're in the country flanked by two corn fields. There are a couple of small businesses in that section. The road before was not in the best condition, but I've seen much worse.

Ok, they paved the road. Then they put up a 20'x20' sign saying how this improvement was paid with money from the Recover Act. So damn stupid. I'm willing to bet the DOT workers in the sign shop weren't a threat to lose their jobs. So it's not like making that sign helped with that.

It's like a company that donates $20,000 to a charity then spends $50,000 to advertise it in the media. Gov't shouldn't be 'bragging' about spending money.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145938)

There is another option, coming from a software dork. The software errors aren't of the coding nature but a more systemic problem. Say an index was shifted in some table somewhere then everything that referenced it would be wrong. Perhaps something of that nature. And we are talking about some fairly complicated software with no working model to work from that was created fairly quickly.

It doesn't make it okay or right but let's be real, this kind of crap happens in software. More errors vs. a couple systemic errors? It's a technicality, the data in question appears to be faulty, I'd expect more of it to be faulty too until the source of the problems is determined.

I'm not sure that the stimulus is claimed to have saved us from the brink so much as the vast moneys given to banks and auto companies by both republican and democrat administrations "saved us from the brink" the stimulus was intended to stem climbing unemployment and it's been a failure at that.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146324)

Folks on the inside know that the house of cards is coming down and are grabbing all that they can while they can?

DId you even read (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144960)

that story? it's about people not correctly reporting their district.

Re:DId you even read (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145066)

It's a story about a system that doesn't verify data sent to them.

Re:DId you even read (-1, Flamebait)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145960)

So when Obama (or his administration, etc....) gets wrong information and reports it, it's the local districts fault/whoever-reported it's fault.

When Bush gets wrong information and reports it, he obviously knew about it (he was President, after all!) and shamelessly lied about it to the American people and should be hung for it.

Oh well. Bush actually made decisions and took responsibility for things and did more than play golf during a time of war. Obama can barely make up his mind about what country to be in when the 20th anniversary party of the Berlin wall coming down occurs. I have yet to see Obama make a "decision" to do anything but campaign/advertise for the Democratic party, even taking part in state elections. I don't recall Bush campaigning for Republican governors on federal taxpayer money during a time of war, as though getting a Democratic governor in two states is more important than fighting a war in Afghanistan (or winning the war, anyway)...

Re:DId you even read (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146330)

The main difference here is that Obama isn't going to go to war, using this false information as backup, in the face of people clearly telling him it's wrong.

Bush stood up on that little plinth and demonstrably lied to the population, Obama didn't read these numbers off an autocue, claiming them to be the truth. If they're wrong, they'll fix it.

Re:DId you even read (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146502)

Well, if Obama didn't lie when he got information telling him a certain number of jobs were created, then Bush didn't lie when his intelligence departments told him there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Stop being biased toward one side just because you're a member of that side's political party. Learn to step outside the bubble.

Re:DId you even read (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146472)

It's a lack of accountability in verifying the numbers, which relates it to this story about the accountability in funding of the "science stimulus."

Just a thought, but maybe Obama shouldn't trumpet job creation numbers his administration didn't verify first. Maybe his administration should try being a little suspicious about job creation numbers coming from districts that don't even exist. Maybe he shouldn't use incorrect numbers to convince taxpayers to pay for stimulus packages.

Re:This is all I've got to say about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145826)

How in God's name is this a troll?

Problem with the science stimulus funding (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144722)

The primary problem with the science stimulus funding is not it going to non-science issues. The real issue is that much of the funding is going to projects which aren't going to be completed before the funding runs out. Many if not most of those projects will then be scrambling for funding and a lot of good science will likely get lost because they can't complete them. The stimulus funding should have been directed to more shorter term studies.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144924)

But without the stimulus those projects wouldn't have got started at all and have no chance at getting funding when the money stops.

Its a 'stimulus package', not a 'do it all package'.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145200)

The real problem with the stimulus as a whole was that it was too short term. That's why we see economic growth picking up, but not employment. Employers scramble to get their share of the dough, but they don't hire people because they know the dough is going to be gone in a few months.

The very idea of a short term science or technology stimulus is silly. If you have something that will be worth doing in the short term, that should be easy funding -- especially in technology. A real stimulus needs to give people the confidence to make long term decisions -- like where to direct their careers, or to start up companies to develop technologies that won't be market ready for two or three years.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145368)

The real problem with the stimulus as a whole was that it was too short term....The very idea of a short term science or technology stimulus is silly.

Says the guy who for some reason expects to see immediate short-term results.......

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146054)

Short term results in employment come from businesses making decisions about long-term prospects. So the impact of money *not spent yet* is actually more important than the money that's actually been spent. The only reason to spend money *now* is to make the promise of future money credible. We don't want an economy that rides on the shoulders of government demand, after all.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

Anonymous Struct (660658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145918)

Just to be sure, you're aware that the vast majority (somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-85%) of the stimulus money hasn't been spent yet, right? I think there's a lot of talk as if we went to the grocery store when the bill was signed and laid $787 billion down at the checkout counter. Even TFA sort of implies this when it refers to the argument over how many jobs the stimulus package actually created, as if all of the money is spent and we're now just trying to measure the results. Also, a lot of the stimulus money (~$280 billion) is actually just tax cuts, so that also is spread out over time. I'm not trying to argue that the stimulus plan is smart or stupid, but either way, it is intended to be spent over several years, not all at one time.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146016)

Yes, I'm aware of that. That's the way it should be. There was a great deal of pressure to restrict stimulus dollars for "shovel-ready" projects, if you recall, so more money may have been spent faster in order to get those particular legislators on board. The publicity may have blunted the package's immediate effects somewhat.

  In an ideal world, you'd get the entire stimulus from promising "jam tomorrow", but never delivering "jam today".

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (2, Insightful)

n0-0p (325773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146116)

That's why we see economic growth picking up, but not employment.

Please provide at least one citation of an economic recovery in which employment did not lag behind all other major indicators by at least 6 to 18 months. Because, based on all historical data, employment is always a lagging indicator of a recovery. And the current trends show employment improving by February 2010, which is right on schedule given that the other indicators picked up around July 2009.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146190)

Of course employment always lags other indicators, because employers don't want to hire until they know the improvement is permanent. That's why *short term* stimulation is ineffective. We aren't going to get sustained economic growth in this country without employment. You want jobs to come back as quickly as possible, but it's not going to be instantaneous.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145376)

The stimulus funding shouldn't have occurred.

There, corrected that for ya.

Misperceptions of Purpose for Science Funds (2, Insightful)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145410)

Actually, the problem with science-specific funding in the stimulus bill is not that these projects will require additional funding, but that the funding won't be spent quickly. The NYT and other papers have been covering the fact that many projects have gotten the funding they desperately need from the stimulus bill to complete their research, but will be spending that funding over the next decade. Researchers are under political pressure to spend the funding quickly, but the research intrinsically takes time to perform and they are not required to spend now or lose it later.

The main problem is with public perceptions over what the science-specific portion of the spending was meant to achieve. It was not intended to create jobs immediately, but rather serve the long-term goal of putting America back in the lead for the world's research and development. The website referenced in this post does a great job of stressing this fact, and a survey of the impressive list of projects being funded by the stimulus bill further illustrates the surge in innovation we should be experiencing from this work a few years down the road.

Science funding isn’t the "stimulus" part of the bill, it's the "reinvestment" part.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (3, Informative)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145534)

"The real issue is that much of the funding is going to projects which aren't going to be completed before the funding runs out."

That's not the way it works. For starters there's rarely, if ever, a definitive "end point" for a study. There's always something more that could be done; it's a piss-poor paper that doesn't bring out new issues to explore. Running out of money or key personnel moving on to a new position often times is the end where whatever you've got is bundled up into a publication(s). If it isn't at the level of a..."least publishable unit" then it might sit around for a year or three until the principal investigator can scrounge up time or more often the case money to get it to that LPU point.

"Many if not most of those projects will then be scrambling for funding..."

This is what academic scientists call "situation normal" or "Wednesday" it's how the game doesn't work for about the last 15 years or so, and getting worse every year. You are constantly scrambling for money, any money, to keep yourself and your staff employed and doing science.

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

cephalien (529516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146250)

And the sort of misunderstanding perpetuated by the OP is exactly why I'm of a duality when it comes to making the underpinnings of scientific funding and research available to the general public.

It's not that I think people shouldn't have access to and be able to find out where their tax dollars go (I pay them too!), but it's all too easy for someone not in the hard sciences to look at what's going on and say, 'Where's my output?' or, 'Why are they studying cannabis. Isn't that illegal?'

Having said that, the way we go about funding science is a real mess. Peer reviewed grant proposals may be the best method we have right now, but it certainly could be better. Never mind the infighting, petty bickering and constantly-shifting requirements from both the university's research foundation (at least in my case) and the granting institutions (NIH).

You scientists will know what I'm talking about...

Re:Problem with the science stimulus funding (1)

beatsme (1472991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145854)

Huh? That's a criticism of the scientists applying for funding, not the funding itself.

Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144726)

Looking over various lists of projects, I am thinking there is not a lot of stimulating going on - a lot of this cash is going to be hoarded by projects, eeked out over a few years.

R&D spending is important, but it should be in it's own bill covering scientific advancement - not a giant bill covering everything everywhere, with very little thought into what the best projects are to actually get funding.

Re:Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (3, Insightful)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144858)

You are absolutely correct.

But the sad reality is that a) scientific spending has the highest return of any government policy (most of which has a negative return), and b) the alternative is not to get science funded through a R&D bill, but to release the funds to other frivolous projects that lobbyists like, and leave nothing for pure, long-term-oriented scientific research.

So I'm going to have to cynically label this "it shouldn't be in the stimulus, but something else" as a low-priority issue.

Re:Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144988)

Most of the ARRA funds that I am familiar with are, in fact, being spent on almost perfect economic stimulus - they are being used for major capital expenditure in support of various projects. Things like building buildings now, rather than in a few years time are perfect economic stimulus - they provide economic activity now, when its needed, without growing the long-term sum of government expenditure.

Re:Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145688)

I think the problem is that R&D is good for long-term stimulus. By maintaining human progress, we are attempting to stock tomorrows shelves, and to provide our children with a few less broken windows. Unfortunately, it does not fit into an ROI equation, so it is hard to justify.

Is it dishonest to try to pass off a long term strategy as a "holy hell, the apocalypse is nie!" reaction? Yes. But, doing so helps get an effective strategy off the ground. I won't lose any sleep over it.

Re:Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145756)

I don't know about this particular issue, but the rationale for including some of the not-really-stimulus spending in the stimulus bill was that it was compensating for shortfalls that were due to the economic contraction. So for example, increasing unemployment benefits isn't exactly stimulative, but it helps people out in the mean time until the economy recovers. Likewise, increasing scholarships isn't exactly the most stimulative thing, but as the economy contracts and people can't afford to pay for college anymore, it enables some of those people to stay in college and keeps enrollment up.

And part of the rationale for doing that sort of thing is that you're trying to avoid a sort of economic death-spiral. The economy contracts, causing people to have less money, causing people to spend less, causing the economy to contract more, etc. The idea is to put on the breaks as much as possible and keep money flowing to various sectors to avoid that sort of chain reaction.

I'm not saying that it's right or that the bill was all done properly. I'm just giving one of the explanations that I've read on why some of the stimulus was spent on things that aren't clearly or immediately stimulative.

Re:Why is R&D even in a "stimulus" package? (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146142)

>> R&D spending is important, but it should be in it's own bill covering scientific advancement

R&D spending IS important, and it should be done by companies and non profits that are motivated to create things you need, not politicians.

Mod me down fag mods! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144736)

Mod this down if you agree that Linux and open sores software sucks.

Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144790)

They bitch about the stimulus money, but the trillion in corporate welfare that Bush 43 handed out is JUST FINE.

Seriously, these people are represented by Palin and Beck now. That Psalms 109:8 paraphernalia they wear around? That's a veiled threat of violence against Obama (hint : read Psalms 109:9) ... when are we going to wake up to the danger that the right wing represents?

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (0, Troll)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144966)

Thank you, God, for your healing gift of religion.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145058)

No, they were both wrong. Neither the scientific community nor the business community should have received a bailout.

The government shouldn't be in the business of welfare, stimulus or bailouts.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145428)

Of course, the reality of that is if they didn't do something the stock market would be at 5000 now and we would all be storing our money in our mattress. There is a balance between doing too much and not doing enough. Your last sentence is a popular sentiment on /. and is easy to say. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is different. I think this is the main problem with the Libertarian movement in the U.S....the inability to be realistic about governing the nation. You remove welfare, stimulus, and bailouts and unemployment would be 30% and we would be living in a country like South Africa.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145566)

And we still couldn't find it on a map...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww [youtube.com]

Clearly, we need a map stimulus spending.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146200)

>> Clearly, we need a map stimulus spending.

I personally believe that, U.S. Americans are unable to do so, because some people out there in our nation that don’t have maps.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145656)

Alot of the elites on both sides would like that future.

The liberals would have their ivory towers in the cities where they could talk about helping the masses and blaming it on the unwashed red-necks who live in the "fly-over" states, while the conservatives would have the same ivory towers in the cities where they'd blame it on the unemployed for not working hard enough while using the "fly-over" people to fight their brush-fire wars.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30146018)

That is what passes for Insightful? A bunch of exaggerated claims with no facts attached and a troll about Libertarians?

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146058)

Yeah, the thing about the bank bailouts is that pretty much everyone who understands the issue agrees that they were more or less necessary. Whether they were handled properly is still a question, and we arguably never should have gotten into that kind of situation, but once we were there, the bailouts were necessary.

If you don't understand why, here's the deal (just a simplified overview as I understand it): Many banks were apparently not solvent. If the government did nothing and your bank went under, you may have essentially showed up at your bank one day to find your checking and savings accounts no longer existed. To this, many people respond, "But my money is FDIC insured!" However, the whole "FDIC insured" thing means that if the bank goes under, the government will take control of the bank, effectively socializing it completely, bail it out, and then sell it off. That's not really any better. To make matters worse, these large banks are fairly interconnected, which means if even a couple major banks were to go under, it would have caused problems for anyone who it owed money to, including all the other banks. Letting a company like CitiGroup go under would cause a chain reaction that would cause lots of other banks to go under.

So ultimately, there were only two options here. Either (a) do some kind of bailout and keep our financial system going; or (b) let our entire financial system collapse, taking everyone's investments and bank accounts with it. Does anyone other than revolutionary anarchists really wish that we'd done option B?

This isn't a partisan issue. Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration were involved in bailing the banks out, and it was because both recognized that it just needed to be done. No one really wanted to do it.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145676)

"The government shouldn't be in the business of welfare, stimulus or bailouts."

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now we can all disagree about the nature of welfare, stimulus, and/or bailouts but such actions are in the government's purview.

Re:Oh God queue the fucking wingnuts (1)

StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146392)

And what does "promote the general welfare" mean? Well, if we look to the Federalist Papers, we'll see:

Federalist 23 (Hamilton):
Defective as the present Confederation has been proved to be, this principle appears to have been fully recognized by the framers of it; though they have not made proper or adequate provision for its exercise. Congress have an unlimited discretion to make requisitions of men and money; to govern the army and navy; to direct their operations. As their requisitions are made constitutionally binding upon the States, who are in fact under the most solemn obligations to furnish the supplies required of them, the intention evidently was that the United States should command whatever resources were by them judged requisite to the ``common defense and general welfare.'' It was presumed that a sense of their true interests, and a regard to the dictates of good faith, would be found sufficient pledges for the punctual performance of the duty of the members to the federal head.

Federalist 41 (Madison):
A system of government, meant for duration, ought to contemplate these revolutions, and be able to accommodate itself to them. Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power ``to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,'' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms ``to raise money for the general welfare. ''But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter. The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are ``their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare. '' The terms of article eighth are still more identical: ``All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury,'' etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation! PUBLIUS.

Federalist 45 (Madison):
If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them. The change relating to taxation may be regarded as the most important; and yet the present Congress have as complete authority to REQUIRE of the States indefinite supplies of money for the common defense and general welfare, as the future Congress will have to require them of individual citizens; and the latter will be no more bound than the States themselves have been, to pay the quotas respectively taxed on them. Had the States complied punctually with the articles of Confederation, or could their compliance have been enforced by as peaceable means as may be used with success towards single persons, our past experience is very far from countenancing an opinion, that the State governments would have lost their constitutional powers, and have gradually undergone an entire consolidation. To maintain that such an event would have ensued, would be to say at once, that the existence of the State governments is incompatible with any system whatever that accomplishes the essental purposes of the Union. PUBLIUS.

So, "general welfare," in the context of the Constitution, does not provide for the current system of welfare to people or companies, but rather to the general health of the government so that it can contiue to protect our rights.

Furthermore, how are we securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity when we end up with $12 trillion in debt (nearing GDP) and over $100 trillion in debt + oblgiations? Is guaranteeing our economic collapse securing our liberty?

If the words of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, aren't enough for you... how about the words of Thomas Jefferson?

The republic will cease to exist when Government takes from those who are industrious and gives to those who refuse to work.

I mean, you'd think these two guys, if anyone, knew what the words meant when they defined the reason for and the creation of our government.

Indirect tinfoil subsidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144822)

Perhaps it's a sign of more government transparency in regards to spending or just more propaganda.

Do you think the government expected to be indirectly stimulating the tinfoil hat industry?

Re:Indirect tinfoil subsidy (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145014)

Good idea for a scientific study. Is tin foil more or less effective than aluminum for hats to protect us from those mind control satellites? I'll bet the feds won't approve that, since it's their satellites were we're trying to protect ourselves from.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144840)

A perfect use for cloud computing.

Possibly to be renamed fog computing in the case of government transparency.

Yea, right (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144904)

"Perhaps it's a sign of more government transparency in regards to spending"

ROTFLMAO..... with tears streaming from my eyes

Government spending (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30144910)

is very transparent. Most of it is published. Budgets are public.

While we always need more transparency, I am surprised how many people don't even know that budgets are published and kept in libraries.

What is better is letting people know where this data is, and also getting it online.

Do you those idiots care? (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146426)

No, they'd rather huff and puff about big gubbermint and how since they never go to the library they shouldn't have to pay taxes.

Not a government site (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30144930)

This isn't a gov site. from the about us page:

ScienceWorksForUS is a joint effort of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and The Science Coalition (TSC) to demonstrate the impact of stimulus-funded university research activities across the country.

These are trade/lobbying organizations, not government agencies.

Re:Not a government site (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145952)

The website contents reflect your claim. It mostly lists schools, total funding, and news reporting a few projects being funded. As to what those projects are about, not much if at all.

It's a PR website, not very informative.

Yipie! A new way to view GOVERNMENT WASET!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145020)

This site is probably, yet another, liberal democrat boondoggle where the facts and figures are nothing more than LIES!

IMPEACH ALL democrats!

Stimulus Funding (4, Informative)

cephalien (529516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145030)

It's important to note that this stimulus funding (they're also called 'Recovery Act' grants) were under a very short submission cycle.

Essentially, we only had a few months to prepare and submit a proposal to get funded, which isn't a lot of time -- unless you already had a proposal ready (or nearly ready) in the wings. What this means in a practical sense is that a lot of what the stimulus funds would have ended up going to is work that's in-progress, or stuff that larger labs want to do as pilot projects.

Also: someone in here suggested shorter-term studies. That's not how real science is done. We try to encapsulate some specific aims in the grant time-frame, but what really happens fundamentally is that we end up using the grant funds to answer enough questions that we can go and apply for another grant.

It's a much-less cohesive and efficient system than many people realize.

Re:Stimulus Funding (2, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145438)

It's important to note that this stimulus funding (they're also called 'Recovery Act' grants) were under a very short submission cycle.

Essentially, we only had a few months to prepare and submit a proposal to get funded, which isn't a lot of time -- unless you already had a proposal ready (or nearly ready) in the wings.

Was it even months? I recall it being less than that. It was an incredibly short cycle. Also, reading through the list of proposed areas of research was obviously reading through a list of project summaries that were culled out of program officers' piles of unfunded grant applications, making it seem like the decisions had already been made.

The ironic thing about the ARRA funding was that new investigators are the best way to create jobs and economic stimulus. New investigators need to buy equipment and hire people. Established labs in contrast already have equipment and personnel, so additional money is likely to be spent on maintaining the status quo, rather than economic stimulation. But the way the ARRA grants were structured, there were strong disincentives for new investigators to apply for them. As a new investigator I was separately advised against applying for ARRA funding three times by people in the NIH.

Re:Stimulus Funding (2, Informative)

cephalien (529516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146158)

Was it even months? I recall it being less than that. It was an incredibly short cycle. Also, reading through the list of proposed areas of research was obviously reading through a list of project summaries that were culled out of program officers' piles of unfunded grant applications, making it seem like the decisions had already been made.

That's absolutely true. In my particular example, we re-submitted a grant that had already been rejected (after making the requisite changes, of course). I expect that happened quite a lot, since the alternative was writing a whole new proposal in a very short span of time.

That's not to say that none of the things proposed weren't fundable-quality, but more that the recovery act funds aren't going to say, make new jobs. Technicians who are already hired will stay hired, postdocs like myself will get another year or two of funding, and so on. One surge of extra funds into the research establishment isn't going to do anything in terms of increase our scientific output (but I get the feeling you know that).

Re:Stimulus Funding (1)

Schickeneder (1454639) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145640)

Our lab submitted the grant just in time! Now we only need to sit around and wait for the check from Obama's pocketbook.

We already had a grant in the works, but once we found out about the stimulus money, quickly switched to one of these other special grants.

Shell Game (1)

Efialtis (777851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145182)

What I want to know is where all the money (millions, I hear) that supposedly went to Utah's 4th Congressional District (Utah only has 3 Congressional Districts)...

Anonymous Coward posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145298)

I can tell you, as someone who works at a higher education institution, that if this money is appropriated as Contracts & Grants monies or "Sponsored Research", which it most likely has if given to any Universities/Colleges, then there is A LOT of accounting going on with each dollar spent. The first portion of stimulus money given to my institution was first reported only a couple weeks back.

What people fail to understand is that this money takes time to find it's final recipients to be spent. There's still a significant portion of stimulus money at my institution that is awaiting to be spent by its deadline: June 30th, 2010.

Re:Anonymous Coward posts (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145492)

I can tell you...that if this money is appropriated as Contracts & Grants monies or "Sponsored Research"...then there is A LOT of accounting going on

And people go to prison for abusing it.... "On October 20, 2008, the former grantee was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and 3 years probation for violating 18 USC 666, which covers theft or bribery concerning federally funded programs." [doc.gov]

Not very useful (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145448)

All it told me about my state was the number of grants given and the dollar amount of grants in total. It didn't tell me anything at all about what they were given FOR or whom they were given TO. Not very useful in determining if any of it was money well spent, or money wasted.

Chicken or Egg? (2, Interesting)

cyberElvis (309765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145520)

A quick look at the site, and I found this: http://www.scienceworksforus.org/virginia/u-va-receives-grant-to-study-effect-of-federal-stimulus-on-science-and-engineering-jobs [scienceworksforus.org]
Stimulus money to study the effect of stimulus money!

Sure let's just keep printing money! I am sure the value of the dollar won't go down.

Re:Chicken or Egg? (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145842)

Seems like a good idea to me, I would of awarded them less $$$ though.

Re:Chicken or Egg? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146226)

You object to spending something like 0.01% of the funding to evaluate how well the program worked and how to optimize government spending on science (which annually is much larger than the bit included in the stimulus bill) in the future?

The grants section on the pie chart... (1)

Tybalt_Capulet (1400481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145754)

More than half a trillion dollars goes to 'grants'. Do these grants include making secret weapons of mass destruction? I think so.

Nothing compared to Military funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30145812)

So the state of Wisconsin gets $81,000,000 for scientific research, but $2,700,000,000 to build more trucks [wikipedia.org] for a pointless war?

my vote: propaganda (0, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145848)

Not sure why you'd bother to think that it's going to anything real, since the Fed seems to be ok with saving jobs and dumping money into DISTRICTS THAT DON'T EXIST.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jobs-saved-created-congressional-districts-exist/story?id=9097853 [go.com]

Guessed to be to the tune of $70+ BILLION so far.

"Change!" indeed. I think Boss Tweed would find that amusing. Daley might even be impressed.

Sunglasses at the ready (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145878)

from the we-blew-it-on-bubblegum dept.

Well clearly it wasn't spent on kicking ass.

Responsive Team (3, Interesting)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30145888)

So, I checked out my state quickly, and noticed that my university was listed [scienceworksforus.org] , for a grant I'd heard about a couple months ago. However, the link to my university's home page was incorrect; it was to a domain that wasn't even registered.

So I used the easily found feedback form to quickly point it out, figuring I'd forget about it later today and never find out or really care if the link was fixed. 18 minutes later I got an email thanking me and saying they'd fix it today. Then 4 minutes later I got another email from a different person saying it was fixed. I refreshed the page, and the link was good.

I know this is one, small incident. But I think it's evidence of a highly responsive, competent, and organized team (technical or support, I'm not sure). I think this indicates that if the upper people and committees allow for it, this web site can do Good Things.

Back in February (2, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146224)

Back in February after the Stimulus Bill was passed, I was flying from Washington DC to Raleigh Durham. Onboard the plane were two congressmen, one so myopic that he literally had to read things two inches from his nose. This is with glasses too. You couldn't help but overhear how proud they were of passing the legislation but what was funny is that both of them were commenting on specific parts of it and each passing back pages of the legislation back and forth.

"Did you know that was in there?"

"Hey, what about this? What's that for?"

Mind you both of these idiots, er uhm, illustrious members of the house voted yes and they didn't read it through.

Sad Really..

Re:Back in February (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30146260)

You can't expect politicians to actually read the shit they vote on, can you? They're too busy doing their jobs, getting pampered by lobbyists.

stifling progress (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30146244)

I firmly believe that government funding stifles scientific progress. The way the government chooses to allocate funds, is just a stimulus for its friends and an obstacle for its enemies. The government consistently funds scientific programs designed to uphold mainstream scientific interpretations of data, and they rarely fund projects that would challenge or overthrow the mainstream interpretation. Consider how little funding the Plasma Cosmologists have gotten, in comparison to the huge amount of money that has gone to astrophysicists who tell us that the universe is almost entirely invisible and virtually undetectable. This is like the medieval Catholic church funding mathematicians to produce increasingly elegant papers on epicycles while ignoring the research of heliocentrists. I, for one, would like to see the government out of science and Natural Philosophy returned to the realm of dilettantes and other assorted rabble who actually base their theories on observed data instead of mathematical conjecture.

In Missouri money was spent on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30146486)

Facebook for scientist! http://www.scienceworksforus.org/missouri/stimulus-grant-establishes-facebook-for-scientists

"Science has become increasingly complex, and that's leading to diverse research collaborations that often fall outside of traditional lines," says Kristi Holmes, Ph.D., bioinformaticist at Washington University's Bernard Becker Medical Library. "This new network will help researchers find one another and explore potential avenues of collaboration that they might not have considered before."

Wow! What a discovery!

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