Drudge Reports Litany of Government Waste

MAJOR CORRECTION BELOW

The website Recovery.gov was supposed to be the embodiment of Obama’s promise for government transparency. Instead it became the poster child for government inefficiency and most news stories compared it unfavorably to the independent site Recovery.org which is run by a small-medium business called Onvia.

So you’ve got a federally funded web-site with direct access to the data on federal spending and it is getting its tail kicked by a private venture with 180 employees and total operating revenue of just over $20M. That really tells you everything you need to know about the imminent government take-over of the health care sector, doesn’t it?

So the federal government did what it does best when it screws up: spend more of your money. They wrote a nice, fat $18M check to do a site re-design of Recovery.gov. Keep in mind that Onvia has been around since 1996 and they get by on about $20 million a year in total revenue. That pays for everything they do, and Recovery.org is just one of their projects. The government, on the other hand, has to write a check for almost that amount just to get one website to work. Of course the last time I checked they were refusing to release the details of the contract. It’s OK, though. A spokesman for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (the “RAT Board”, ha ha) said:

We are not spending this kind of money just to paint a pretty picture. There’s a whole heck of a lot of other stuff going on here.

I feel better already. Don’t you?

Well I guess the contractors – in a sudden departure from typical government contractor behavior – actually did their job because this morning I woke up to a litany of absurd government excesses posted on the Drudge Report. As of now (about noon, EST) the list includes:

RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $2,531,600 FOR 'HAM, WATER ADDED, COOKED, FROZEN, SLICED, 2-LB'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $1,191,200 FOR '2 POUND FROZEN HAM SLICED'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $351,807 FOR 'REPLACE AND UPGRADE THE DUMBWAITER'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $1,562,568 FOR 'MOZZARELLA CHEESE'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $5,708,260 FOR 'PROCESS CHEESE'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $16,784,272 FOR 'CANNED PORK'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $1,444,100 FOR 'REPAIR DOOR BLDG 5112'...
RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $541,119 FOR 'INSTALL TRAFFIC SIGNAL'...

Yes… two and a half million dollars for 2 pounds of ham. With water added. Now that sounds like the federal government we have all come to know and love. Who doesn’t pay over a million dollars per pound for ham these days? Maybe they are just anticipating the astronomical inflation that will hit the US once we start to feel the effects of the trillions of imaginary dollars we’ve flooded into the economy.

It sounds like a joke, but the Drudge links all go straight to Recovery.gov sites. That’s as official as it comes. This isn’t a new urban legend. It’s not a hoax. It’s not someone accidentally mistaking The Onion for serious news.

This, my fellow Americans, is the future of our health care.

CORRECTION: The White House has issued a response to the Drudge Report links. It turns out that the Recovery.gov site is just still very screwed up. They didn’t spend over $2M for 2 pounds of ham. They spent over $2M for 760,000 pounds of ham that came in 2lb packages. I had a fleeting thought that this might be the case, but didn’t include the possibility in the original version of the article.

So what does this mean? It means that the government didn’t really spend more than $1M per pound of ham. That’s sort of like congratulating a grown adult for being potty-trained. Yay! Have a cookie. They did, however, manage to spend $1.50 per pound on ham that Food Lion will sell you for $0.79 per pound (according to Drudge). Someone needs to explain to them how buying in bulk is supposed to work.

And there are other items on that list that won’t even start to look as good (relatively speaking) as paying double for ham. What about the $351,807 dumbwaiter? I hope it’s gold-plated. And why does it cost $541,119 to install a single traffic signal? Does it also dispense lemonade and write traffic tickets?

This brings us to the real problem : the Recovery.org website continues to be a fiasco. You’d think for $18M they could fix their website. Well you’d think that they wouldn’t need to spend an additional $18M at all and could have gotten it right the first time.

Instead of a government that spends more than a million per pound for ham, we have a government that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing a dumbwaiter and that can’t – after months of work and tens of millions of dollars – put together a website to report on their own spending. And that continues to be outperformed by a private company on a fraction of the budget.

That doesn’t exactly lay my fears to rest.

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    Robert, you are doing a wonderful job!

    Thanks for the ammunition to send to my contemporary liberal Democrat former high school classmate (not "friend"). She's the Obot I've mentioned.

    On one of my emails to her, I asked, "Did you fail civics?"

    (Meow!)

  2. Opus64 says:

    ummm, I thought the purpose of that "stimulus package" was a 3 letter word "j-o-b-s"? Even though they spent more than they should have on each pound of ham, the bigger issue is why are they buying ham at all! How does buying ham stimulate the economy?

  3. Opus64 says:

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in all his wisdom, has hit the MSM air waves in defense of the hams! He's so smart, he's setting the record strait that they didn't spend $2M on 1 2lb ham, but on 760K lbs of ham, so there, take that. How about he address why the hams at all?!!!

  4. Hot Head Son says:

    Well, You realize that they had to bail out all of those poor Pig farmers from the swine flu culling…Oh,wait a minute, we'll just give it to the poor for free. Yeah, thats it.

    As a raiser of market hogs, I am waiting for my bailout to arrive any time now…

    Makes you wonder doesn't it…

  5. Anonymous says:

    For those interested in the eligibility issue, have you seen this townhall meeting yet?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V1nmn2zRMc&e

  6. goddessdivine says:

    You know, this just gets me excited for Obamacare. I can't wait for more govt waste and inefficiency.

  7. Uncle Rick says:

    Let's do the math correctly here. $2,531,600 for 760,000 lbs. does not give $1.50/lb. It gives $3.33/lb. Even if it is really 760,000 2-lb packages, that's still $1.67/lb.

    That's bargaining to be proud of!

  8. Rix says:

    Hmm, a correction pops out while I am typing out a comment. Looks like this little private blog is way more efficient that the federal website – quite as it is supposed to be.

    In any case, I am sure that every adult capable of reading knows the exact answer regarding insanely overblown prices. Governmental contracts are the sweet manna of business deals. Their primary goals are a) rewarding cronies, b) soliciting political contributions and c) getting private kickbacks. Elections have consequences; Obama's goals might be as lofty as becoming a Supreme World Leader or selling the USA to the highest foreign bidder, but for many of his followers, making a quick buck is just good enough.

  9. Gail B says:

    Anonymous at 2:45 p.m.–

    Thanks for the link to the video. That was awesome! Sent it to my Obot former classmate.

    I guess she did fail civics–she didn't say she'd passed it!

  10. Leah says:

    If the government agrees to pay me $100,000 I will go in and fix the website. That would be a considerable savings over the $20,000,000,000 they are spending on it now.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I KNEW some math whiz would figure it out for himself!

    This isn't Hope and Change; it's
    Hope FOR some change — out of $2 million.

    Verify: tribewls (troubles?)

  12. TJ says:

    I made sure that I reported this abuse of taxpayer funds (the $18 million to redo their website). Just go to http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/contact and click on the button for reporting fraud/waste/abuse.

    Of course, I haven't had a response back from them nor do I expect one.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well you all should be happy that our Commerce Secretary has offered the American people pay for the carbon creds for China. Isn't that nice of him? We get to pay ours and we get to pay theirs too. It's because we buy so much of their products you know. Oh and also because China refuses to be part of the scam global warming policies. Al Gore are you mega rich yet? Next up: India. They won't play either so I guess we should pay theirs too because we train all their Drs. and engineers. Hillary was nice enough to apologize for all of us and our bad polluting ways in her speech there today. So I guess we owe them too. Are you happy yet??

  14. HTML says:

    High Taxes – Money Lost

  15. Anonymous says:

    The highway in my town has ALWAYS been worked on, paved, etc…. now they have posted recovery.gov signs along the work being done….. now that makes sense ???

  16. Anonymous says:

    Leah,

    I am undercutting your bid. I will do the website redesign for 90,000.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Gail,

    You're welcome!

    elspeth

  18. TWELVE BUCKS says:

    Could recovery.gov spend maybe just $17,999,988 instead and maybe get a $12 long form birth certificate printed also?

  19. Anonymous says:

    What are the possibilities there are Democrats just driving around with a pickup full of recovery.gov signs and whenever some hard working Americans are spotted these Dems jump out and stick up a sign? Would NOT put it past em.

  20. DAYS OF OLD says:

    Dear Worried American,
    As a child of the Great Depression, my mother wasn't able to go to college — but I swear she was smarter than the educated people who are running the country right now.
    And if Mom were alive today, she'd probably give our leaders the same scolding she used to give me: "You have a champagne appetite and a Coca-Cola paycheck."
    That was her way of saying that, when you want something you can't afford, you have to work hard and save up for it. But if you try to live beyond your means, you'll end up with nothing but big debts and a bad reputation.

    -Mike Huckabee

  21. UNCLE SAM I AM says:

    I can, I can
    I can eat ham

    I can eat ham in my car
    I can eat ham from a czar

    I cannot eat ham in my home
    I cannot there I have no home

    I can eat ham from a Kenyan
    I can eat ham from a minion

    Ham is good, cooked over wood
    Under a bridge, or on the river
    Maybe someday they'll give me liver

    I'll eat their ham at this price per lb
    It's my grandkids bill I won't be 'round

    yes, I can eat ham and pretend it is lamb
    I can eat ham it's Obama Spam

    Thank you Obama it's such good ham
    Thank you Obama for giving a damn

  22. SUBCONCIOUS MIND BENDING says:

    Noticing the logo:
    The dominant color is blue (Democrat) and in the superior position. The subdominant color is red (Republican) and in the sebservient position. The green is thrown in to appease the eye of the ecological wackos.

  23. Leah says:

    Anonymous said…

    Leah,

    I am undercutting your bid. I will do the website redesign for 90,000.

    July 21, 2009 9:00 AM

    Ah, well, Anonymous, you forced me to do this. The way things are going now I am going to have see your bid and raise mine. I now want $125,000 to do the work and I want some gold garbage dumpsters as well. I don't want the ham though.

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