The following story is indicative of how government works. Other than this, it’s close to irrelevant.
Fact: the Federal Government spends about $3.7 trillion a year. It borrows $1.2 trillion of that. How much is $3.7 trillion? It is one thousand times $3.7 billion. It is 100,000 times 3.7 million. It is 370,000 times a million.
The debate is over $2 million in spending. In other words, if Congress were to cut this, no one would notice.
Republicans on a House panel are looking into a $2 million federal stimulus program funded by the Department of Labor. The DoL paid a Tennessee PR firm $1.5 million. They are demanding that the firm turn over records on how much it was paid, and where the money went.
We know where the money went: down the rat hole. The question is: whose rat hole? A Republican rat hole or a Democrat rat hole?
In 2009, the DoL awarded the firm $2 million to promote the Job Corps. The Job Corps is a boondoggle that has been around ever since the 1964, the first year of the Johnson Administration. It offer make-work jobs to college-educated students who do not want to join the Peace Corps, another boondoggle, which requires at least some of the college graduates to get their hands dirty in Third World countries. The best study of the Peace Corps is the Tom Hanks movie, Volunteers.
The heart of this letter about PR is the $500,000 the company spent on MSNBC ads. It helped fund the Keith Olbermann Show (R.I.P.) and the Rachel Maddow Show (L.L.L.) [loud lesbian liberal]
When asked by the Washington Times about this, the PR firm refused to comment. It referred the journalist to the Department of Labor.
DoL spokesman says the DoL will respond to the letter, One of These Days, Real Soon Now.
The committee wants to find out about another $1.5 million in spending.
The work on that $1.5 million contract included updating a photo and video database of Recovery Act projects, research on various stimulus projects and reaching out to Job Corps centers for information on graduates “who are currently employed by energy-efficient employers and are using their green training skills in their positions,” according to government records.
But the real fuss is over MSNBC. Why? Because the committee’s Republicans want some good PR back home in an election year. Mr. Olbermann and Ms. Maddow make for good copy.
This money was spent under the umbrella of Obama’s stimulus law.
The Committee’s Republicans want proof that new jobs were created.
I can think of one that was lost. MSNBC fired Olbermann in 2011.
The DoL says there was nothing political about the ads. I believe it. The Job Corps has been a bipartisan subsidy for college grads for almost 50 years.
In an earlier statement to The Times, Labor Department officials said there was nothing political about the placement of the ads. They said research showed that the advertisements would reach the target demographic of business owners and managers interested in hiring “green-trained” employees through a programming list that initially also included shows hosted by CNN’s Larry King and public television’s Jim Lehrer.
It makes sense to me. The PR firm should not be running ads on American Chopper.
This is all great fun. Yes, the federal government is heading for bankruptcy. But we need amusement. This investigation is providing that.