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GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

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GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Old 07-08-10, 01:55 AM
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GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

This is pretty much the kind of "transparency" that I would expect from Obama's administration.


http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-va...ite-needs-work

GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

The website used to track stimulus spending does not meet the transparency requirements laid out by the administration last year, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to the 400-page report, only a quarter of the projects listed on Recovery.gov provide clear and complete information on the cost, schedule, purpose, location and status of stimulus-funded work. Most of the entries on the site provide some of that information, but 7 percent of the entries provide little to no information about how stimulus dollars are being spent, the report said. The study was conducted at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The report notes that agencies that received guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on what information to include in the stimulus reports tended to have more complete data on the website. The report cited a transit award used to purchase hybrid buses as an example of clear, transparent reporting, in contrast to a highway award for "chip sealing" that failed to explain what the practice is or why it is being used.

"It's clear this was a very large undertaking," Kate Siggerud, co-author of the report and managing director of physical infrastructure issues at GAO, told Nextgov. "OMB provided good guidance and relied on individual agencies to do more to tell their recipients to provide useful information to Recovery.gov."

While the majority of the $275 billion in stimulus dollars set aside for grants, contracts and loans has already been awarded, GAO still recommended that OMB provide better guidance to agencies on what information they should report on spending projects. The management of Recovery.gov is being closely watched because the site has long been viewed as a test case for USASpending.gov, the site that tracks all federal spending.
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Old 07-08-10, 03:52 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

According to the 400-page report, only a quarter of the projects listed on Recovery.gov provide clear and complete information on the cost, schedule, purpose, location and status of stimulus-funded work. Most of the entries on the site provide some of that information, but 7 percent of the entries provide little to no information about how stimulus dollars are being spent, the report said. The study was conducted at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Ok, so what the fuck are they saying, then. This statement is just as nebulous as Obama's website.
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Old 07-08-10, 07:23 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
According to the 400-page report, only a quarter of the projects listed on Recovery.gov provide clear and complete information on the cost, schedule, purpose, location and status of stimulus-funded work. Most of the entries on the site provide some of that information, but 7 percent of the entries provide little to no information about how stimulus dollars are being spent, the report said. The study was conducted at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Ok, so what the fuck are they saying, then. This statement is just as nebulous as Obama's website.
The defect rate is between 7 and 75% depending on how much of a hard-assed fussbudget you are.
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Old 07-08-10, 10:19 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
According to the 400-page report, only a quarter of the projects listed on Recovery.gov provide clear and complete information on the cost, schedule, purpose, location and status of stimulus-funded work. Most of the entries on the site provide some of that information, but 7 percent of the entries provide little to no information about how stimulus dollars are being spent, the report said. The study was conducted at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Ok, so what the fuck are they saying, then. This statement is just as nebulous as Obama's website.
For each project, the website is supposed to provide five things -- cost, schedule, purpose, location, and status. Seventy-five percent don't provide all five of those things. Seven percent don't provide any of those things (or "little to no[ne]" of those things, whatever that means).
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Old 07-08-10, 11:34 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
For each project, the website is supposed to provide five things -- cost, schedule, purpose, location, and status. Seventy-five percent don't provide all five of those things. Seven percent don't provide any of those things (or "little to no[ne]" of those things, whatever that means).
I always like it when I log in to my credit card account online and 25% of the transactions specify the date, amount, and vendor and the other 75% tell me little or nothing, maybe a country that some transaction took place in.
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Old 07-08-10, 11:43 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

I don't know why you all are doubting Obama's transparency. I think he's very transparent.
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Old 07-08-10, 11:44 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

I don't blame it on Obama. It's not like he's keeping tabs on everything. But if we can't keep track of the original stimulus money, I don't think people should be pushing for more
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Old 07-08-10, 11:45 AM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

The buck stops where?
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Old 07-08-10, 12:03 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by classicman2 View Post
The buck stops where?
It usually ends up somewhere in China.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:09 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency



Why shouldn't some of our members blame Obama? Some of the Obama apologists blame George W. Bush for the the great flood in The Bible.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:33 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

It's hard to blame Obama for the stimulus plan altogether, even though he supported it. It would seem though that this phase of it (the oversight) falls squarely on his lap. It's not terribly surprising though, at least for many. This is the kind of performance that's expected of government and part of why people feel this "stimulus" spending by the government is a bad idea overall.

There is no doubt that a lot of good has and will come from stimulus money. I would hope that a lot of good could come from anyone spending this much money... or even a fourth of it. The problem is how much is wasted. It's becoming clear that we will probably never know. That makes it tough to determine whether it will be "worth the cost." Nobody really knows what we're getting from it.

Buying wheelchairs for old ladies is a good thing. Spending a million dollars on 4 wheelchairs... not such a good idea. But the spenders will quickly point out the benefit to those 4 old ladies and call you an old lady hater if you bring that up.

I think that a trillion dollars in other hands could have been better spent (and better accounted for).
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Old 07-08-10, 12:40 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

The stimulus was his baby though, wasn't it? Well, his and Pelosi's and Reid's.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:47 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by Venusian View Post
I don't blame it on Obama. It's not like he's keeping tabs on everything. But if we can't keep track of the original stimulus money, I don't think people should be pushing for more
I wanted to shout "It's not like he's keeping tabs on anything" and scream "FIXED", but I know better than to do that to a mod in the Political Forum. Really, I do.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:48 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Yes, I guess the stimulus (this one any way) was all Obama's. The bailouts were a shared venture, as were the handy checks they sent out to citizens that were seemingly relatively worthless in stimulating anything. I get all these massive spending bills confused sometimes, and I'm sure Congress does as well.

I had forgotten that the Recovery Act was not supported by Republicans. I thought that fiscal responsibility enlightenment came shorter thereafter, but it must have come the day Obama took office. So yeah, this really is all Obama's fault and he is fully accountable for anything Recovery Act related.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 07-08-10 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:59 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
It's hard to blame Obama for the stimulus plan altogether, even though he supported it. It would seem though that this phase of it (the oversight) falls squarely on his lap. It's not terribly surprising though, at least for many. This is the kind of performance that's expected of government and part of why people feel this "stimulus" spending by the government is a bad idea overall.
I don't think private enterprise is that much better. I deal with private companies all the time and when you ask them to do something that seems like it should be simple (like "provide a list of the products you bought from a particular supplier over the past five years") they tell you they don't keep track of that.

Anyway, I think the government should do a better job of tracking this stuff.
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Old 07-08-10, 01:18 PM
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Re: GAO: Obama administration website on stimulus spending fails on transparency

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
I don't think private enterprise is that much better. I deal with private companies all the time and when you ask them to do something that seems like it should be simple (like "provide a list of the products you bought from a particular supplier over the past five years") they tell you they don't keep track of that.
Honestly, it's their own money so I don't care how good a job they do at tracking product purchases from a supplier and assume they would only do so if there was a visible need (I don't track that specifically for my company, personally).

I do think that private enterprise tasked with something such as the stimulus with clear accounting standards would perform much better than 25%.

My idea back in the day was something to the effect of tasking 1,000 proven groups with generating jobs and stimulating growth, with a huge prize for the most effective model. You could give 1,000 groups 800 million dollars a piece and still have money left for a hefty prize, with what was spent here.

Diversify those groups across fields... medical, education, business, etc.

Imagine what one entity could generate with 800 million dollars. Surely there would be failures but with 1,000 of these the swarm of growth would be impossible to prevent in many directions, and it would be sustainable growth.
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