Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Obama's Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread fraud

The classic example of Keynesian economics is, in the words of Keynes himself, to "pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up." It seems as if that's effectively what's been going on with stimulus money in Chicago
Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. "We found that 14 of the 15 homes…failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments," the report says. In eight of the homes, CEDA had come up with unworkable and ineffective plans -- like putting attic insulation in a house with a leaky roof. In ten of the homes, "contractors billed for labor charges that had not been incurred and for materials that had not been installed." The report calls billing problems "pervasive," with seven of ten contractors being cited for erroneous invoicing. And the department found "a 62 percent final inspection error rate" when CEDA inspectors reviewed their own work.

The work was not just wasteful; it was dangerous. Department inspectors found "heat barriers around chimneys that had not been installed, causing fire hazards." They found "a furnace [that] had not been vented properly." The found "a shut-off valve that had not been installed on a gas stove." And they found "carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers had not been installed as planned."


So now, there's going to be lots of work for the contractors to, in essence, "fill up the holes" that the stimulus money has dug! Woo-hoo! Stimulated demand!

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