Snap Fact #277
The Obama Recovery Act was virtually free of waste, pork and fraud! Part 2 of 5

Most of the Obama 2009 Recovery Act consisted of straightforward direct aid to states, to the vulnerable, as well as to infrastructure building, and tax cuts. (See previous SNAP-CAP for summary of the Bill and other relevant information)

Critics such as the ever amusingly off-the-mark Rush Limbaugh jumped up and down with rage and improperly called the Bill “porkulus". However, in truth, the bad pun on “Stimulus” was the exact opposite of how the myth-creators attempted to characterize it. Notably, the Obama Recovery Act was the FIRST modern spending bill with no official legislative earmarks. Earmarks are the actual definition of “pork” and this Bill had none. How do you explain such a cynical disregard for the truth?

Another Republican red herring that was trotted out was the warning that 5% - 7% of the money appropriated could be lost to fraud. Auditing investigators documented that only $7.2 million in losses was uncovered through 2011, which amounted to about 0.001 percent.
To be fair, waste is to some degree defined in the eye of the beholder. But alas we should be careful that the eye is not jaundiced. During the original legislative process, the House Republican caucus released a list of "what they call wasteful provisions in the Senate version of the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill". It totaled $18.7B (or 2%). But it’s telling that most Republican examples of stimulus boondoggles were either removed from the bill (sod on the Mall and smoking cessation); or never in the package in the first place (mob museums, levitating trains to Disneyland); or other wild distortions that freely abounded (ie. The new Department of Homeland Security headquarters was denoted as “government furniture”).

Yes, there was Solyndra, but its $535 million default represented approximately 1% of the Recovery Act’s clean-energy loan portfolio, and it is often overlooked that Soyndra was a Bush administration find that the Obama administration inherited. In any case, independent reviewers have found that the overall portfolio is in excellent shape. And Republican investigators have found no evidence that cronyism drove the Solyndra loan as has been noisily charged by some of their compatriots.