Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your Government at Work, Part II - the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

I first noticed the signs Sunday afternoon while on a mission to refill two empty growlers at a craft brewery a couple of counties away. The signs weren't everywhere--only at a few places along the highway--but there were enough of them to keep the thought of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stuck in my head. It was kind of insidious the way they did it, really. Too many signs would have been overkill, but these few seemed hardly conspiracy-worthy.

The signs, as you'll know if you paid attention to the picture at the beginning of this rant, point out to the traveler, certain, specific projects funded by the former contents of his wallet. Those projects, as the signs explain, are designed to create jobs.

The signs were nice and all, but I didn't see any actual working projects. No bulldozers digging up dirt. No workers with hard hats leaning on shovels. Of course it's clear that the signs at least created jobs for sign makers. In fact, at $2000 a pop, they must be high paying jobs too. Still, a stimulus recovery package that only benefited sign makers seemed kind of short sighted.

Eventually I got home, and while sampling the contents of my newly filled growlers, I started to think more about the signs. It's true there were no actual work projects happening near the signs. But then I remembered seeing the orange and white traffic barrels.

In fact, nearby every sign, were a minimum of one hundred or so traffic barrels.

Now, this might not seem important to you at first glance, but the fact is, those barrels don't come cheap. The average price is about $100 per. What that means is that each sign (providing $2,000 worth of sign making jobs) generates an additional $10K in traffic barrel making jobs. When you toss in the jobs created for the folks needed to install the signs and move the barrels into the rode at daybreak and off the road at sunset, you can begin to see the genius of the government's plan.

I just hope they don't get all giddy with success and go and do something stupid like try to actually fix roads or repair overpasses in a way that might last, say, twenty years. Because then the sign jobs would go away, and the traffic barrel jobs would go away, and then where would we be?


  1. MisterBastard wonders how many wow-wows could be stuffed into each barrel.

  2. Haggis,
    They started our "putting america to work" phase about a year and a half ago, they widened a main road cutting through out area, that really didn't need widened, added right side "turning lanes" and an extra space between our left turning lane and the straight turning lane (big enough for another car to idle in, but crossed out bc clearly we are not allowed to actually use the lane to turn bc it would be too dangerous or something...)

    I'm assuming they ran OUT of money because there are alot of things wrong with the road now that it's been "fixed" one side has an huge incline/hill thing, to where our cars basically lean to the right until the drop off back to a normal level, and the "new" right turning lanes are lower than the rest of the road, and theres a nice crack where the seam should be.

    all of our barrels have disappeared, there are no signs of the road ever being fixed up...Yeah, they did a great job with that stimulus money.

    Good luck with the road work around your area!! :D

  3. Hello, MisterBastard.

    I expect you could fit five or six wow-wows, if you stuffed them in tight. The problem is, I don't see how that would create more jobs.

  4. Hi, Hinny.

    It looks like a Congressional subcommittee had a personal hand in designing your road project. And I suspect we've got your barrels now. Bummer for you. :( Maybe some day you'll get new signs.

  5. Haggis Said: I expect you could fit five or six wow-wows, if you stuffed them in tight. The problem is, I don't see how that would create more jobs.

    The premise is simple. Fill said barrels with wow-wows. Place filled barrels in traffic lanes, particularly where large trucks travel.


    Someone has to be paid to clean up the mess.

  6. Ah yes. Truly a sign that our superior financial planners nestled securely in their overpaid government positions are again watching out for their own butts; creating unnecessary jobs for unnecessary government employees that need supervised so those that created the jobs can justify their own necessity.

    I’ll submit, it is better for the workers than being unemployed, even if the project takes funds away from less important needs like inner city schools and law enforcement and...oh yeah, us.

    It’s just another bandaid.

  7. Another bandaid, Jay? Sure. But it's got a sign, dammit. It's got a sign.

  8. And a hundred barrels of wow-wows. :) If we had 400,000 hippies and a stage platform we could sell souvenirs.

    "Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..."

  9. The sign has psychological intentions. It is trying to convince us that everything is going to be alright. The economy is built on confidence, not money. If we think everything is okay we spend. If we think everything is going into the crapper we save. Saving does not support an economy.

    It could have said "Funded by Blind Hope and Wishful Thinking" but somehow I think that would have missed the intended message.

    What if it had said "We're DOOMED!" It might be closer to the truth but panic doesn't support an economy either. :P

  10. Sure it has psychological intentions. But you're gonna have trouble convincing me that the main intention behind the signs wasn't a bunch of folks who want to get re-elected patting themselves on the back in full view of the voters. Not that I'm cynical or anything.