Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

posted at 11:36 am on July 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Everywhere, that is, where Barack Obama wants some advertisement.  The Porkulus plan has indeed stimulated one part of the economy — signmaking.  Sinking up to $10,000 per unit into Recovery Act signage, the White House has littered the landscape with messages that critics call naked political advertising at taxpayer expense:

As the midterm election season approaches, new road signs are popping up everywhere – millions of dollars worth of signs touting “The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and reminding passers-by that the program is “Putting America Back to Work.”

On the road leading to Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC there’s a 10′ x 11′ road sign touting a runway improvement project funded by the federal stimulus. The project cost nearly $15 million and has created 17 jobs, according to recovery.gov.

However, there’s another number that caught the eye of ABC News: $10,000. That’s how much money the Washington Airports Authority tells ABC News it spent to make and install the sign – a single sign – announcing that the project is “Funded by The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and is “Putting America Back to Work.” The money for the sign was taken out of the budget for the runway improvement project.

ABC News has reached out to a number of states about spending on stimulus signs and learned the state of Illinois has spent $650,000 on about 950 signs and Pennsylvania has spent $157,000 on 70 signs. Other states, like Virginia, Vermont, and Arizona do not sanction any signs.

It’s not the first time this has become an issue. In fact, it was almost exactly a year ago that ABC News first reported on the massive amounts of money spent on road signs touting Porkulus. At that time, the White House had Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood acting as its shill for the self-congratulatory BurmaShave campaign, insisting that “signs tell a story.”

Indeed they do, and in this case, it’s selling propaganda as a story. How else to explain signs popping up all over the landscape bragging., “Putting America back to work” while joblessness increases and employment levels continue to decline? Even in the most literal sense, road construction isn’t a steady job, especially not the projects funded through Porkulus. When the money runs out, so will the jobs. The only thing that will be left will be the signs.

Update: I should have included a link back to the Boss Emeritus’ hilarious post containing alternate Wreckovery logos.

Update II: Commenter CDeb offers another version of Porkulus signs, this time with a little more truth in advertising:


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Again, World News Tonight has been HAMMERING Obama with delightful regularity, especially since the start of the oil spill. I mean, it’s not always going to be wine and rose, but, between them and my man Jake Tapper?

Kudos. BIG time.

tree hugging sister on July 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I was just in Hill City, SD last week to do some pre-Sturgis scouting and on the way there we stopped in the badlands. Some fool decided to put decking-covered walking paths up through some beautiful natural areas and the effect looks like crap, all of it funded by Obama Reinvestment Dollars.

How did we know? Because the badlands are absolutely coated with these bragging signs, they are everywhere. Of course during the week there wasn’t a worker in sight, just piles of building material laying around and really enhancing the pristine wilderness.

Bishop on July 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The only thing that will be left will be the signs.

Yep, you got that right. Am I the only one who has noticed that the signs are not coming down after the construction is complete? Are they permanent?

Joe Caps on July 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

There is a road junction near us that is being torn up as one of these projects. They are installing new storm drains. Problem is, in the last 15 years there has never been any flooding issues at that intersection that anyone I know can remember. They put the sign up on the main road about 4 months ago before they even started working.

Johnnyreb on July 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

They had those signs up on N.M. 128 in Lea County (the southeastern edge of the state) this time last year. It’s one of the more desolate roads in the region, so that was a lot of cash spent on very few eyeballs watching.

The only fun part was whoever put up the signs placed them so that driver’s only saw them after passing through 10 miles of bad road, instead of before the construction, meaning that only after driving over a washboard at 35 mph for 12-15 minutes did you get to see who was to blame for your problem (don’t know if that was accidental or not, but SE New Mexico is the main oil producing part of the state, so it tends to trend a little more conservative).

jon1979 on July 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

No link to Michelle Malkin’s post today on this issue? The satirical signs alone are worth the visit.

conservative pilgrim on July 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Hey…we’ve got to employ those union sign makers.

PatriotRider on July 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

They put up a sign near me on a project that had been in the works for years. Construction had already begun and suddenly this crappy sign shows up. I think it pisses people off more than anything and is a constant reminder of the failed “stimulus”.

darwin on July 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

“You’re going to be seeing more of them in the weeks and months ahead.”

YOu don’t say.

It’s almost as if millions of taxpayer dollars are being pissed away on this Obama Administration propaganda campaign – millions that could have gone to unemployment payments or into salaries or keeping emergency personnel from being laid off.

But just shut up, you racist wingnuts. Obama is “saving America” by erecting these signs. Or something.

Good Lt on July 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

More campaign financing.

Vince on July 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Ha!

Great title Ed!

aquaviva on July 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

White House Budget Office sign: Thin Ice

faraway on July 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Nothing has changed in Barry Land. It’s all bling and no substance.

GarandFan on July 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

This self-aggrandizing is all a carryover from the Obama campaign, from his phony “presidential” seal to the fake Greek columns.

Put up a facade and hope no one realizes there is no there, there.

pain train on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM

“I would vote for more of this.”

-Blue Site

Bishop on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Am I the only one who has noticed that the signs are not coming down after the construction is complete? Are they permanent?

Joe Caps on July 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Now that you mention it, the sign on Route 2 westbound to Hartford, CT is still there. It has been up since last summer and the work was completed last Fall.

Johnnyreb on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Jimmy Carter did the exact same thing back in the 70′s.

ButterflyDragon on July 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Heck, there’s a sign up in Holland, OH at the intersection of McCord and Angola touting a porkulous roadway project. It’s been up for months, despite there not being any roadwork being done, nor is there any need for any roadwork, Potemkin at least put up facades and had people stand around as villagers for his villages, Dear Liar’s regime doesn’t even go that far.

rbj on July 15, 2010 at 11:55 AM

WE SHOULD PULL THOSE F*%&ING SIGNS DOWN

GTR640 on July 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM

They are all over the place here in Ill-noise of course.

Many of the projects are needless. On top of that, you won’t get work on one of these projects unless you are union.

BobK on July 15, 2010 at 11:59 AM

As I’m rather sure Jaibones and WashJeff will attest, there are a bunch of those bloody signs all over the Chicago South ‘Burbs. In the case of the majority of those things there appears to be no construction-of any kind going on anywhere near them.
So I’m seeing them-why?

annoyinglittletwerp on July 15, 2010 at 12:00 PM

You’ve got to admit there are some big shovel ready jobs now. The biggest is the pile of s#@t building up inside and outside the White House & Capital bldg..

wepeople on July 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Where are all the clever, talented, witty graffiti artists when we need them????

albill on July 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Maybe he can hire people to pretend to have found a job via the stimulus. These people can go around to markets and drug stores having pretend conversations on their bluetooth ear pieces and talk really loudly about how awesome the economy is, and that their new job rocks thanks to obama. That ought to create at least a few thousand.

abobo on July 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM

WE SHOULD PULL THOSE F*%&ING SIGNS DOWN

GTR640 on July 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM

We could sell them all to China.

VegasRick on July 15, 2010 at 12:03 PM

And that little black cartoon guy on the sign….isn’t that racist?

albill on July 15, 2010 at 12:03 PM

I hope after O is cashiered out of office, we see these signs being torn down like statues of Lenin.

ThePrez on July 15, 2010 at 12:05 PM

All show and no go.

It worked for him in 2008.

jukin on July 15, 2010 at 12:05 PM

There was a sign on Dixie Hwy just South of 183rd Street in Homewood, IL
There was never any construction-just the sign.
It’s gone now but I’m pretty certain that I’ve seen one of its siblings on either Ridge Road or going east or 183rd going east.
Once again-no construction.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

In the case of the majority of those things there appears to be no construction-of any kind going on anywhere near them.
So I’m seeing them-why?

annoyinglittletwerp on July 15, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I think in the first week they pay a construction team to put out cones and horses. Next week they will pick the cones and horses. JOBS!!!!

WashJeff on July 15, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Painted heavy aluminum with radius corners and applied reflective vinyl letters and full-color printed vinyl logo on heavy u-channel posts driven into soil.
$1800.00 installed (unless you’re union, then it’s $10,000.00)

Extrafishy on July 15, 2010 at 12:08 PM

There’s tons of work going on in my neck of the woods, and I have yet to see, or notice one of these signs. Is it because Texas is a red state? hmmmm.

As for the cost….well we own them, so I say….where the hell are the graffiti artists when we need them?! LOL

capejasmine on July 15, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Why not just paint the signs on the porta-poddys at the construction sites? Isn’t that “stimulus”????

Rovin on July 15, 2010 at 12:09 PM

What’s so funny is the very real work that’s being done on the ‘bridge’ on Dixie btw. Holbrook and Flossmoor Rd isn’t considered to be a ‘recovery’ project.
I so love Illinois.
///

annoyinglittletwerp on July 15, 2010 at 12:10 PM

We should hire people to dig holes and fill them in.

STIMULUS!

Good Lt on July 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Thanks for the update Ed!

“I would vote for more of this.”

-Blue Site

Bishop on July 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Didn’t Blue Site get the ban hammer?

conservative pilgrim on July 15, 2010 at 12:18 PM

There’s one of these stupid signs about a half mile from my home. Been there about a year, there is no construction anywhere near the sign, and hasn’t been since the sign’s been up.

Oldnuke on July 15, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Mervis Winter on July 15, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Jacko would be proud!

ExpressoBold on July 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM

You know what…everytime you see one of those signs and noone working, we should post them.

bloghooligan on July 15, 2010 at 12:39 PM

OH! And let me tell you… one of these signs heralds the job of putting in 5 miles of concrete sidewalks down rte 59 in IL between Plainfield and Naperville… for those of you on acquainted with the area, it is a rather wealthy area, all while IL is whining, they can’t pay teachers or safety workers (cops and firemen).

AND another sign heralds an ambitious project in Plainfield – widening route 30 – and all was going well until THE UNIONS WENT ON STRIKE!!! So, a main artery is still congested with no work being done.

AAAARGHHHHHH!

Queen0fCups on July 15, 2010 at 12:40 PM

THIS SAME THING HAPPENED IN PUERTO RICO. I WARN YOU! TAX DOLLARS GO TO SIGNS-MINIMUM TO WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!
BTW I wanted to bring you the link from Drudge, that I call “Bill, help me get out of this crap, please!

In Puerto Rico, the flashy, new, first woman Governor Puerto Rico ever had promised, amongst one of many things, to fix the economy. I don’t recall how bad it was, but it was tops there. She started lying left and right about the past administration; accused the past Governor of stealing money, to use it for personal use, wasted money, etc. etc.

Therefore, she created the program called “Mil Millones”, and these “one thousand million dollars” were gonna be spent fixing “special communities”, which are low income or what’s called poverty level. Smack, LABEL 1. Encouraged these communities, esp. public housing projects, to ORGANIZE, create some sort of group that may bring up their issues to the office CREATED to deal with this stuff, so they’d get what they needed done. Essentially, more small/updated playgrounds for the kids, more security, some appliances, things like that.

Well, “El Proyecto De Los Mill Millones” started to show off…in signs. Smack, LABEL 2. These signs appeared a couple hundred yards from where LABEL 1 was located. Then, like Chinese rice, it multiplied times 10. So lil’ ol’ me drives down the highway, sees this stuff, and at first you think something may be done. That’s the farthest from the truth!

Major consequence over these “Special Community” signs? If you owned a house nearby (not IN the projects, nor public housing), but a decent $150K-$200K home i.e., your property automatically was devalued because of its location…THE SIGN!

These signs will change the value of local businesses and properties nearby. Needless to say there was anger amongst my island friends, because they saw all types of signs and NO WORK, if very little. Those people that DID organize and lived in the projects, public housing and handed over their wish list to have things fixed were upset (understatement) because the lady that was taking care of this business was not getting stuff done. She needed mo’ money! I don’t recall her EVER visiting these areas; the Governor did, of course tons of photo-ops surrounded with kids and grandmas and grandpas. Promised all sorts of things with these “thousand millions” that were going their way.

When it got worse and it was obvious it was all a sham, the Governor dumped all the blame on the person SHE assigned to do the dirty job for her. After a short back-and-forth and accusations, that lady quit.

But the signs stood there. There’s more information in this link, if you want it translated I can go ahead and do it. You will get the gist that they were called to court to answer for that money-because the majority of the people of PR believe that “they stole a lot of it”.

http://www.pulsorock.com/foro/showthread.php?t=103271

ProudPalinFan on July 15, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I meant post pictures. Who likes pictures?!

Picture…I mean, even the left can understand those.

bloghooligan on July 15, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Shovel ready job in the Obowma Summer of Recovery?

An Undertaker.

dthorny on July 15, 2010 at 12:42 PM

My advice for those who have those signs posted near your homes and businesses?

HAVE YOUR PROPERTIES APPRAISED. See if the value of them go up, or went down. This happened to a friend of mine in Puerto Rico. And she did not live where the work was supposedly being done. Because most of it was NOT done.

ProudPalinFan on July 15, 2010 at 12:43 PM

These signs are about the only thing this Administration has to show…

Or are they?

Have you visited any US government websites in the past year? More recently?

Even sites as arcane as the Institute for Military Heraldry at the Department of the Army have new web pages…the home pages having a prominent picture of the Glorious Leader, or over at the State Department…it is all about Hillary.

This self-congratulatory self-worship by this Administration bears a striking resemblance to failed regimes of the past and present…Stalin’s, Mao’s, Kim Chong-il’s…a whole host of despotic nations.

$20 million taxpayer dollars spent on garish roads signs to show the Nation what a great guy this Obama character is…trouble is, Obama is totally without character.

No signs will ever change that fact.

Your tax dollars spent promoting our wonderful “leadership.” Can’t recall such adulation being foisted upon us by any previous Administration.

coldwarrior on July 15, 2010 at 12:43 PM

17 JOBS for 15 million. Come on guys. Think about it. 17 JOBS created!!!

antisocial on July 15, 2010 at 12:46 PM

I see a lot of projects started under Bush he takes credit for.

seven on July 15, 2010 at 12:48 PM

It was Obama’s team that approved BP’s well.
Enhanced oil recovery act of 2010.

seven on July 15, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Truly disgusting. Hey I know Presidents and Governors love to put up signs with their names but I thought we voted for change.

While we are at it Oh Green President (catch the dual meaning?) why don’t you lead the way and instead of flying everywhere-especially on environmental missions- lead these events online and save the planet.

CWforFreedom on July 15, 2010 at 12:56 PM

OH! And let me tell you… one of these signs heralds the job of putting in 5 miles of concrete sidewalks down rte 59 in IL between Plainfield and Naperville… for those of you on acquainted with the area, it is a rather wealthy area, all while IL is whining, they can’t pay teachers or safety workers (cops and firemen).

AND another sign heralds an ambitious project in Plainfield – widening route 30 – and all was going well until THE UNIONS WENT ON STRIKE!!! So, a main artery is still congested with no work being done.

AAAARGHHHHHH!

Queen0fCups on July 15, 2010 at 12:40 PM
I used to live in Oswego so I know the area.
considering the strike-maybe it’s better that all we get are signs.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 15, 2010 at 12:57 PM

And the sign says: long haired hippy people need not apply.

Count to 10 on July 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM

ABC News has reached out to a number of states about spending on stimulus signs and learned the state of Illinois has spent $650,000 on about 950 signs and Pennsylvania has spent $157,000 on 70 signs. Other states, like Virginia, Vermont, and Arizona do not sanction any signs.

Baltimore jumped on the band wagon by putting up their own signs.

Count to 10 on July 15, 2010 at 1:03 PM

If it costs ~$1 million for every job ‘created,’ I’d much rather the Obama Administration spend around $5k per sign. It would seem to me the money spent on sign making would create more jobs for sign manufacturers than building a highway, or at least it would be more cost efficient.

Then again, I have taken collegiate economics classes and do run my own business, so I realize my mind doesn’t work the same way Obama and Co.’s do.

Chad_ on July 15, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I see a lot of projects started under Bush he takes credit for.

seven on July 15, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Happens all the time. Pure politics. Wanna bet that he won’t take credit for it and bring Bush over to “cut the ribbon?”

ProudPalinFan on July 15, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Everywhere, that is, where Barack Obama wants some advertisement.

You were expecting, maybe, Greek columns?

(And chops for yet another rock-n-roll, if one-hit-wonder, reference, Cap’n.)

Paul_in_NJ on July 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM

darwin on July 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I drive I-40 across New Mexico several times a year to pick up and drop off a grand child. There our several sections being worked on. Most work started before Porkulus but the signs showed up for these projects. Absolute waste of money.

chemman on July 15, 2010 at 1:17 PM

I had a friend try to convince me that each sign cost $10,000 (not that most cost under $1,000, but the bill could reach up to $10,000 for the most expensive). That seemed a bit steep, but that she believed it shows the level of confidence people have in the ability for this administration (and government in general) to spend our money effectively.

calbear on July 15, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I was in eviction court today and saw a Recovery Act sign for CARPLS, a legal aid referal service. You can call them and hear their greeting confirming that they are lawyers getting Recovery Act money to defend tenants in eviction court cases. 312-738-9486. I think this is a wonderful program, but Keynesian stimulus it ain’t!

Ted Torgerson on July 15, 2010 at 1:32 PM

This is an example of costs where nothing happened (as of yet):

Para el programa de Comunidades Especiales, según el DV, se otorgaron $50 millones en contratos de diseño, $76 millones en contratos de tasación, $49 millones en compañías de inspección y gerencia, $4.6 millones en abogados y $3.3 millones en servicios profesionales.

Translation:

For the Special Community program, as per the Department of Housing, $50 million dollars were granted on design contracts, $76 millions in appraisal contracts, $49 millions in management and inspection companies, $4.6 millions in attorney’s fees and $3.3 millions in professional services.

http://www.vocero.com/locales/4348-mas-senalamiento-en-comunidades-especiales.html

ProudPalinFan on July 15, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Ok, what drives me nuts about Erie, is that of course there’s a lot of bragging when it comes to porkulus, stimulus and whatnot. That this benefits the construction industry enormously. What about the rest that do professional, clerical and admin jobs?

There’s two roads, road 26 and route 5, off of Hwy 79. Every single one of them has been torn apart with construction. Lots of areas where you have to go 25 mph. I feel for the people that their front entrance has to be destroyed to either expand or put sidewalks. I was NOT going to the vet’s office and drive my car on top of a steel/iron plank. What if by some sort of misfortune my family and pet were swallowed on that ditch?

No stimulus signs here, but tons of construction, that will end in the winter and then we’ll worry about how well constructed these areas will be. We have to think ahead and pick the road with less construction than the other; if not, we’re screwed.

ProudPalinFan on July 15, 2010 at 1:58 PM

My personal favorite is a sign on I-405 south of Bellevue Washington. I spent an hour sitting on the freeway going from mile marker 11 to about mile 6. I stared at one of their signs for 20 minutes telling me that “My dollars were hard at work”.
 
This is a section of the freeway that should have been upgraded years ago. Unfortunately, the enviroMarxists in the Seattle area had other priorities for the money. Now the whole Seattle area is one big traffic jamb — burning even more fossil fuels.

ClanDerson on July 15, 2010 at 2:04 PM

And the sign says “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I put my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you’ll do
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that, huh, me working for you”

[Chorus:]
Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
Blockin’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign

And the sign says “Anybody caught trespassing will be shot on sight”
So I jumped the fence and I yelled at the house
Hey! What gives you the right!
To put up a fence and keep me out, or to keep Mother Nature in
If God was here, he’d tell it to your face, man, you’re some kind of sinner

[Chorus]

Oh, say now mister, can’t you read
You got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can’t watch, no you can’t eat, you ain’t supposed to be here

And the sign says “You got to have a membership card to get inside” – uh!

[Solo]

And the sign says “Everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray”
But then they passed around a plate at the end of it all
And I didn’t have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own fuckin’ sign
I said, “Thank you Lord for thinking ’bout me, I’m alive and doing fine”, oh

[Chorus 2x]

Yes! Some old song, called “Signs Signs”, I wish we did write that one, but
We didn’t – wow!

Alright

ted c on July 15, 2010 at 2:10 PM

With all that money spent on signs, there’s nothing left over for orange cones.

MagicalPat on July 15, 2010 at 2:10 PM

We have those stupid signs here in the Denver area so that Bill Ritter could get his name on them as well.

My favorite is the one on westbound I-70 where I-70 and I-76 meet, one of the earliest signs to go up. There has yet to be any construction in that area.

There’s also one on southbound I-25 in the middle of downtown where there hasn’t been any construction either.

Common Sense on July 15, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Didn’t Blue Site get the ban hammer?

conservative pilgrim on July 15, 2010 at 12:18 PM

That was bleedsblue, back in January of this year. The fatal thread is here.

Mary in LA on July 15, 2010 at 3:53 PM

BTW I live in Phoenix, AZ and the signs are up here. These are municiple jobs, not state, but the signs are everywhere. Most recently, here in my neighborhood, they were jackhammering out the ramps on sidewalks and adding little patches with big bumps (presumabley to prevent slipping which I was not aware was a problem). Another example of digging a hole and filling it back in if you ask me. And with nice big ARRA signs right there!

CarlaPHX on July 15, 2010 at 4:20 PM

I berated my 81-year-old mother for not lifting the Porkulus sign posted near her house at a highway project last year. C’mon, live it up!

ya2daup on July 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM