Matt Drudge has linked a dozen or so examples of what look to be wasteful spending in the stimulus–$2,531,600 for ‘HAM, WATER ADDED, COOKED, FROZEN, SLICED, 2-LB’, $1,191,200 for ‘2 POUND FROZEN HAM SLICED’ (I linked that one immediately below), $351,807 for ‘REPLACE AND UPGRADE THE DUMBWAITER, $1,562,568 for ‘MOZZARELLA CHEESE’… and so on. In response, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture posted the following clarifying information:
The references to “2 pound frozen ham sliced” are to the sizes of the packaging. Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.191 million to buy “2 pounds of ham” are wrong. In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191m, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound.
So why didn’t the contract description on Recovery.gov list that amount. Taxpayers can’t follow every penny if government doesn’t tell us how much of a thing it’s buying, or, as Drudge does, comparison shop.
Incomplete data doesn’t do anyone any good. Recovery.gov will be a failure if every item requires a clarifying press release.