American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Where is your money going?

President Obama began his February 2009 televised address with promises to “rebuild” and “recover.”  Early in his address to Congress television audiences began typing he when President Obama announced announce the website Recovery.gov.  The idea behind Recovery.gov, the creation of which President Obama mandated as part of legislation, was to make the spending of the $787 billion from the 2009 Stimulus Package transparent to tax payers.

From the recovery.gov web site:

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be carried out with full transparency and accountability — and Recovery.gov is the centerpiece of that effort.”

The logo for Recovery.gov is “Your money at work.”

With the economy still sluggish and unemployment still as high as 10%, President Obama is invoking “Recovery Summer” and once again we’re being encouraged to check out the website to be assured that our money is at work.

While many people are wondering if the stimulus and when the stimulus package will make a difference, the Recovery.gov website numbers do at least remind us that much of the money, a little less than half, has yet to be paid out.

Recovery.gov by the Numbers:

-Only about $400 billion of the $787 billion has been paid out.

-Less than half of the $275 billion allocated for grants, loans and contracts has been distributed.

At the Revocery.gov website you can specific details about projects and fund allocations.  You can search for projects by zip code and even check out photos of construction projects on the Flickr pool.

“Recovery Summer” projects from Recovery.gov include

-10,000 construction projects

-30,000 miles of highway

-80,000 homes to be weatherized

There’s also a big red button for citizens to report stimulus package waste, abuse or fraud.

There are or have been:

-1,771 complaints of abuse

-147 active investigations

-43 cases accepted for prosecution

Other highlights from the Recovery.gov website include video messages from President Obama, links to a copy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a drag and scroll timeline highlighting important actions related to “recovery.”

You can even make Recovery.gov a Facebook or MySpace friend or share a “recovery” success story.

With all of these website bells and whistles, the real meat of the story is found under “Where is your money going?” a graph that shows how the billions of dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvention are being spent on:

-tax relief

-state and local relief

-infrastructure

-science

-protecting the vulnerable

-health care

-education and training

-and course “other”

Recovery.gov isn’t President Obama’s first display of using technology to keep in touch the people.  While many presidential candidates may have had websites or blogs, Obama was the first to text message voters and many analysts believe it helped Obama to get to the White House.  Now that he’s there, Obama clearly plans to continue to use technology as a tool for keeping government, at least more, transparent and accountable than it has been in the past.

Have you visited the Recovery.gov website?  What are your thoughts on Recovery.gov or “Recovery Summer?”

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