Funds from Stimulus I Still Not Spent

In 2009, Americans were told by our President that massive government spending was needed to keep unemployment below 8%, and that spending would happen quickly – like ripping off a band-aid. Flash forward to this year, when President Obama joked that the “shovel-ready” construction projects we were promised were not so “shovel-ready.” Now flash forward to today, a new report states that much of the stimulus money given to the Energy Department still hasn’t even been spent.

$2.5 billion was supposed to be given to the states as part of the Energy Department’s grant program from Stimulus I (Stimulus II is what will be announced by the President tonight). Yet as of March, only a third of those funds have been spent.

Stimulating, huh?

The Energy Department said that it would spend the money in 18 months in order to help the economy. Yet, more than two years later they have failed to do so.

The funny thing about this? The delay in funds being spent is due to – get this – environmental regulations! Yes, the Energy Department grants, which were supposed to be used to fund environmentally-friendly energy projects, are being held up by environmental regulations. Irony?

This report is yet another blow to President Obama’s original stimulus, in which he and his administration cherry-picked industries they liked to give them a leg up on their competitors. This favoritism – and lack of investment skills – proved disastrous when favored solar panel maker Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last week after receiving $535 million in stimulus funds. And a month earlier, Evergreen Solar also went bankrupt after receiving stimulus money.

Tonight, President Obama will ask for a second, smaller stimulus. He again wants to focus on infrastructure – and no doubt “green” infrastructure – spending. Will we have to wait another 3 years to find out those funds weren’t spent, or were spent on risky ventures that ended up failing?

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