Two years ago, signs promoting Barack Obama were everywhere: on buildings, billboards and bumper stickers. Not much has changed, except now you are paying for this propaganda to promote the President and his floundering “stimulus” spending plan. Reports indicate these signs can cost taxpayers as much as $10,000 each, with my home state of Illinois spending more than $650,000 on them. Worse, the stimulus ads tout a program that has failed – as the signs promise – in “putting America back to work.”
It is our job as federal watchdogs to investigate why the White House has wasted potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars advertising a spending splurge that hasn’t met any of the President’s own sales pitches: that the $862 billion would keep unemployment below 8% (today it’s 9.6%) and generate, by the end of this year, more than 4 million private sector jobs (we’ve lost 2.51 million). No amount of propaganda, some of which promotes President Obama personally, could convince taxpayers the stimulus is working.
These cold, hard facts haven’t stopped the Obama Administration from trying. Working with independent government watchdogs, our investigation has found that the White House strongly encourages, if not requires, stimulus grant recipients to post pro-stimulus signs as part of the funding package. This unwelcome spending transparency has already shamed one agency into relaxing its propaganda requirements, but we need your help both tracking down these signs and holding the Administration accountable for its broken job creation promises.
If you see a sign, take a picture and send it to us with the location at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will add your pictures to an interactive, sharable map [link to map page here] showing that, even as the stimulus fails to create jobs, the Obama Administration continues to use your own money to try to convince you otherwise.
The American people have already taken a stand against this wasteful Washington spending that doesn’t create jobs. Thousands of taxpayers voted through House Republican Whip Eric Cantor’s YouCut website to cut funding for any more stimulus signs, force the federal bureaucracy to report how much has been wasted on them and take that money back from agency budgets. We listened to you and forced these cuts to a vote before the full House of Representatives. Even though the Democrat majority defeated us, we will continue working to deliver you a federal government that allows the private sector to create jobs, doesn’t hide behind propaganda and saves more than it spends.
So be a watchdog and help us track these signs of a failed stimulus.
Congressman Schock, an Illinois Republican, is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform