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The Stimulus Reports Are In...But Are They Accurate?

 Today’s roundup of stimulus coverage:

What do you get when you take nearly $800 billion, 156,614 reports, and a complicated web of online forms? A headache. It’s been four days since the White House released its report on stimulus jobs, and it appears there are some fairly significant, albeit innocent, errors. The Wall Street Journal reports on a Kentucky shoe store owner who received $889.60 in stimulus funds to provide boots to the Army Corps of Engineers. The owner reported that the 900 bucks allowed him to save nine jobs. (In actuality, no jobs were directly saved—but he did supply boots to nine members of the Corps).

Likewise, a review of stimulus reports by USA Today found 14 reports claiming to create more than 100 jobs for less than $1,500 per job. Included in there is a police department in Plymouth, Conn., that claimed it used a $15,355 grant for new computers to create or save 108 jobs (the entire police force has 22 officers), and a HeadStart program in Georgia that claimed to create or save 935 jobs for $1.3 million (it employs a total of 500 people). Liz Oxhorn, a spokeswoman for the White House stimulus effort, told USA Today that one purpose of the reports is to allow transparency, which "allows people to find any mistakes, as it should – which will help us correct them promptly."

And finally, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University reports that overseas firms are collecting the vast majority of the clean energy grants from the stimulus. Of the $1.05 billion in grants that have been handed out since Sept. 1, a total of $849 million – 84 percent  – has gone to foreign wind companies. Just because the money’s going to overseas companies, though, doesn’t mean all of the jobs are.  The companies said that American jobs are being created with the funds.

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