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: