Biden to local officials: Don’t use stimulus money on stupid ideas

March 18, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden had some pointed advice Wednesday for state, county and city officials seeking guidance on spending the $787 billion in economic stimulus money approved by the U.S. Congress — don’t use it on stupid ideas.
 
“What is legal, what is authorized, may not be aUSA/ good thing to do,” the vice president told dozens of local officials gathered for a White House conference.
 
“So guys, no swimming pools, no tennis courts, no golf courses, no Frisbee parks,” Biden said, even if officials can document that the project will create jobs quickly, generate revenue and keep people working over the longer term.
 
“The answer is: No. No. No,” he said. “It’s got to pass the smell test folks.”
 
Then he gave the warning some teeth.
 
“Because of the rules, the president and I can’t stop you from doing some things. But I’ll show up in your city and say, ‘This is a stupid idea,’” Biden warned, drawing laughs.
 
“I’m serious. I’m absolutely serious,” he said. “Every single dollar of this money has to be used … in a way that is actually producing or keeping jobs from being lost and perceptually makes sense.”
 
Biden has reason for concern. The administration has been promising to be open and transparent about how the money is spent, with projects being posted on a website where they can be tracked by anyone with an interest, from journalists and bloggers to folks who live down the street from the work.
 
“We have to get this right,” Biden said. “We have got to demonstrate to the American public that we can husband their money and their investments in a way that in fact makes sense to them. This can’t be govenment as usual.”
 
Local officials attending the event said they appreciated being consulted by the White House so early in the process and liked the high level of coordination among government departments.
 
Brian Reilly, the economic development commissioner for Buffalo, New York, said it was unusual to have the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development all talking together with local communities.
 
“This is fantastic at the city level because we are the place where all of those agencies come together. In the past they haven’t always been coordinated,” he said.
 
“By this type of early collaboration,” Reilly added, “we’re going to see a different kind of service delivery and different kinds of outcomes at the local level.”
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Biden speaking to local officials about economic recovery money)

11 comments

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More wonderful doublespeak from the White House. Change indeed.

Posted by IQ190 | Report as abusive

I absolutely believe Joe and am positive that he can easily recognize stupid ideas.

Posted by Ed Gcom | Report as abusive

Biden’s an idiot. He needs to listen to himself sometimes. The federal government is far and away the champion of stupid spending. The state and local governments are generally much more sober in their use of taxpayer funds than is are the boobs in Washington.

Posted by Candide | Report as abusive

Joe,
First, you need to show up at AIG headquarters, where they are trying to get a corner on the stupid idea market.
A visit to former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would also be a good move, if you are looking for promoters of stupid ideas; if there were any justice, you would find him in prison.
Then stop off at General Motors, where they are working on designing next year’s stupid idea.
Finally, go back to the Congress (where you voted for TARP) and remind Reid & Pelosi that you don’t cure the results of last year’s stupid idea with this year’s “new model” — that doesn’t work in Washington any more than it does in Detroit.

Posted by nostupidideas | Report as abusive

how about the huge bonuses they are going to be paying to the managers at fanny and freddy,how are they different from aig?the same congressmen involved,same donations to the selected few,and the same fools being fooled.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Wow, stupid ideas guy Joe. check the Presidents cabinet Mr Geithner knew of the AIG bonus’s that were being paid out. AIG also mananges the Govt retirement fund.

Posted by Barry Gorg | Report as abusive

In fact he repeated “serious” so many times he eroded the emphatic capital of the term, or he was encoding. Whatever…he sounded like either he or his audience is OCD.

Posted by T2133 | Report as abusive

He made his warning because he already knows the frisbee parks, the champagne water fountains, the luxurious resorts for political comrades, driveways paved in gold are going to come. What’s different about this stimulus bill is that the federal government has written it in such a way that provides great latitude on the part of city and state officials. The reason for this is so that they could avoid having it tagged as a big pork barrel project that benefits the political hacks that voted for it.

Posted by Duude | Report as abusive

Indeed, that is the job of the White House, Senate and Congress….more words of wisdom from Joe Biden.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Where’s the rest of Biden’s speech? The funny part is ” this is the only part the President was right about”

JOSEPH BIDEN, Vice President of the United States: Because of the rules, the president and I can’t stop you from doing some things, but I’ll show up in your city and say, “This was a stupid idea.”

You think I’m kidding? This is the only part the president was right about: Don’t mess with Joe, because I mean it. I’m serious, guys. I’m serious. I’m absolutely serious.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

If we are not supposed to be wasting money, then maybe we should not be giving ACORN a fortune to hire people to do the Census. I think this is nothing more than a way to funnel money to ACORN to use in buying votes for the next elections.

Posted by BD | Report as abusive