Stimulus Is The Real Blowing Money Fast (B.M.F.): How We’re Spending $862 Billion
Recently rapper-entertainer Rick Ross (aka "Ricky Rozay") dropped what became an urban anthem, under the song title of Blowing Money Fast. He glamorizes a number of "street hustlers" and boasts how they "made seven mil a week". Not too shabby. Do that every week for a year and you've grossed a cool $364 million dollars.
Although impressive, it pales next to the B.M.F. power of the federal government through the ARRA (aka "the stimulus'). Through the ARRA it has managed to blow through more than $8OO billion dollars in the same time frame. It has even successfully steered the distribution of these dollars away from "those most impacted by the recession". Although the early hype stated this as a goal, in reality it never happened. I'm sure hustler "Big Meech" would be proud.
"The businesses and communities that need federal dollars most are seeing the least" said Laura Barrett, director of the Transportation Equity Network. Minority-owned firms create jobs and hire people that look like the business owners. According to Richard Copeland, founder and CEO of THOR Construction, Inc. there's also a "good-ole boy network" at play in the construction industry which limits minority participation. "If we can't get on these jobs," he said, "we can't hire our people from our community, so poverty and drugs and crime and unemployment and welfare become habitual." In fact with 16.5% unemployment among African-Americans persisting, some research suggests that a direct focus on the growth of Black-owned businesses is the best strategy to expand recovery to all Americans.
John William Templeton, author and co-founder of National Black Business Month agrees. According to numbers released in "Where's Our Stimulus: State of Black Business" jobs do not automatically flow into Black neighborhoods. Through April 2010, only $618 million in contracts from federal agencies had gone to 1,339 contracts with Black-owned firms. This according to Associated Press reporter Jesse Washington, represents only 1.1 percent of the ARRA contracts. Blacks own 6.8% of all businesses according to Census numbers. This under-utilization brings us back to the $8OO billion plus dollars in the federal stimulus.
ProPublica has been tracking the progress of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act outlays since the program was authorized by Congress. It provides the Stimulus Speed Chart on its website. In addition there are estimates from individual department Web sites and Recovery.gov, the government’s stimulus tracking site. According to the latest numbers, some agencies appear to have exceeded their total authorization. In any event, as we now scrape the bottom of the ARRA barrel, and there's talk by some politicians of a "Stimulus Part II", it seems apparent that the money has blown past those communities and entrepreneurs in most need. And there has been little uproar about it happening.
The only real economic solutions are going to be to get involved directly and change your forecast. Do your research, identify a team and resources, develop your technical skills, and begin to execute your idea through networking with others of like mind. With predictions of economic downturn until at least 2014, I suggest you get started today.
What do you say?