Where is the stimulus money going to?

July 2, 2009 7:23:07 PM PDT
There are a few government websites set up to help you keep track of what is happening in the economy and where the economic stimulus money is going to. But have you tried going to them? My guess is no. And if you have, I just want you to know, I share your frustration. Back in February, when the president signed the stimulus bill, the white house set up a website at recovery.gov to track the $787 billion.

"Instead of politicians doodling out money behind closed doors, the important decisions about where tax payer dollars are invested will be yours to scrutinize," said President Obama in February 2009.

If only it worked like that, said ABC30's political analyst Professor Bruce Cain.

"We've done studies of who actually uses these Internet resources," said Prof. Cain, Ph.D.

Professor Cain says it isn't your average citizen that's scroll though the websites to judge for themselves if the money's being well spent.

"Because it's really a lot of work and people have other things to do with their time," said Prof. Cain, Ph.D.

Instead, you get Republican politicians and conservative groups spinning the numbers one direction and Democratic politicians and liberal groups spinning them the other way.

"Probably it's only the universities and the press that you know have any shot at giving a balanced view of this and both of them are under siege right now so it's an interesting quandary," said Prof. Cain, Ph.D.

Professor Cain says there is one aspect of the recovery website that people would be motivated to navigate, and that's the job search.

But if you click on it and get re-directed to USA Jobs, today you would've found a grand total of 80 jobs listed and none of them in California.

Governor Schwarzenegger has another website at recovery.ca.gov, which has a county by county job listing. The greatest numbers were sales jobs and many of them months old and there was no detail on if they're still open.

On Thursday, Senator Barbara Boxer was in the Bay Area meeting with secretary of transportation, and transportation reporter Heather Ishimaru asked her about the government's website.

"Is that site really in the best shape it can be for people to follow what's happening with stimulus dollars? asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.

"Well, I think they're open if you have any suggestions to let them know," said Sen. Barbara Boxer D-CA.

Boxer brushed off the question and goes on to talk about the energy bill, and Ishimaru asked her again, and she replied, 'they should'

They should but they won't probably, which is why we're going to go through the websites, dig through the numbers and report back to you.

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