US government needs to spend wisely
The Obama administration has reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars on road signs that promote the use of stimulus dollars on various construction projects across America.
The amount of money being spent on these signs has raised questions about whether or not the administration is spending taxpayer dollars responsibly. The administration spent $10,000 alone on just one sign near Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
While the administration claims only $5 million dollars have been spent on these signs, others question whether or not this is an accurate figure.
The issue has traveled as far as Capitol Hill, where many members of Congress have openly criticized the Obama administration for government waste. One lawmaker is even trying to push a bill through Congress that would cut funding for these signs.
“At a time of record deficits, at a time when we need to start cutting back and living within our means, I think that the millions of dollars we’re spending on signs is an easy cut,” argued Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).
While some Washington residents are critical of the signs, others argue that this is simply the government following through on its promise of transparency.
“I have no problem with the signs,” said Washington resident Brendan Horton. “I think it’s good that the public is made aware that the recovery act funds are being used.”
Whether it is a necessary expense in the name of transparency or another example of government waste, these signs have caused quite a stir in Washington.
However, it is not about spending more or less, it is about spending differently, argued Max Fraad Wolff, an economics professor at The New School in New York City. He argued that the US might in fact need another stimulus.
“I’d like to see any future stimulus and future government spending be done very differently than we’ve been seeing the spending done in the last several years,” said Wolff.
Wolff argued that in the future Americans will have higher taxes and less government services. He also added that cuts to military spending are possible without risk to national security. There are a lot of cuts that could be made without hindering America’s national security, argued Wolff.
“I’d say as an economist, National security, the understanding of it in the United States, needs to be broadened because I for one think it’s a national security issue if people don’t have jobs for months and months and months, or health insurance or decent schools or safe streets. I think that’s as much national security as an intercontinental ballistic missile defense system,” said Wolff.
Wolff also argued that many of the jobs lost in the economic crisis will never come back. He said the challenge of the market and government is to create new jobs, which may mean retraining and relocation for those seeking jobs.
“I think we need direct jobs programs. I think we need the federal government to assist private corporations in doing some hiring,” said Wolff.