A recent report from Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn, Stimulus Checkup (PDF), examines 100 different projects that received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The purpose of the report was to highlight the wasteful nature of the ARRA. However, CNN decided to take a fine-toothed comb through the report and is reporting that yes, the Recovery Act is working.
One of the projects that the McCain/Coburn Stimulus Checkup claims was wasteful was an investment in a geothermal heating and cooling system at a mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The McCain/Coburn report states that this mall is “almost empty”. CNN’s follow-up shows that mall developers already have three department stores signed on to lease space at the mall thanks to the energy efficiency upgrade project.
In addition to getting tenants back into the mall, which in itself will help stimulate the local economy, the project is also expected to create more than 200 jobs in the area. This doesn’t fit my definition of wasteful.
So now we have senators who opposed the Recovery Act from the get-go saying it is wasteful and then the “liberal media” refuting this claim. As everyday Americans, we’re left to decide for ourselves.
Liz Oxhorn, Recovery Act communications director, wrote about the CNN rebuttal on the White House blog. She closes out her commentary with the following statement, which I find to be a rather fitting way to close out this article.
“The question is not whether the Recovery Act is money well-spent. Everyone from independent economists and the CBO to Republican and Democratic governors and workers across the country on the job at Recovery projects says that it is.“