of the first things President Barack Obama did as Chief Executive
of our nation was to urge Congress to pass, than sign, the American
Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the nation’s
“economic stimulus” package. The $787 billion dollar bill, the largest
taxpayer footed bill ever passed, was viewed as the primary vehicle
to stop the free fall of the economy.
many people don’t know is this money is already on the street as
states and local communities line up to be the first to stimulate
their state and local economies. Budget shortfalls for state and
local governments are real and most are looking to the federal government
in ways that they never have before. California and Los Angeles
has already received the first hits (installments) of stimulus money
for what are called “shovel ready” projects.
if you don’t know how to access these projects, you will be waiting
for a shovel that never comes your way. Like Reaganomics’ and its
“trickle down” theory, the folks most in need of economic stimulation
may never taste the trickle. Same case here. There’s a saying what
you don’t know, can’t hurt you. That’s just not the case when it
comes to emergency economic relief and economic stimulus projects.
Don’t sleep this.
ready projects are building, highways and other infra-structure
systems that are ready to break ground and start immediately. Construction
projects tend to have to jump under this shovel ready definition.
But what people don’t know, is because of the urgency in getting
people back to work and getting the money in the economy - most
of the contracts for projects built from stimulus money will be
“no-bid” contracts and short bid contracts, meaning selection will
be quick and limited. As a point reference, just think “Haliburton”
and you get the picture. Haliburton, the company Dick Cheney ran
and held significant stock in, before and during his Vice Presidency,
got almost all of the infra-structure security and rebuilding contracts
for the Iraqi war, estimated in the hundreds of billions of
Obama serves in five simultaneous roles as President of the United
States, each with a distinctly powerful influence on how government
operates. Of course, we’re most familiar with “Commander in Chief,”
which heads our armed forces but also determinates where we deploy
troops and resources. As Chief Diplomat, he determines what countries
we recognize (diplomatic recognition gives Americans rights to travel
abroad with diplomatic immunity protection and establishes trade
policies with countries given recognition).
Head of State, President Obama is the face of the nation in times
of accomplishment and tragedy as the country looks to the President
Chief Legislator, the President influences what legislation is of
priority to his administration, and Mr. Obama has proven effective
in his power of presidential persuasion. But as Chief Executive,
he runs the government on a day to day basis, he appoints people
to oversee his executive priorities, he issues executive orders
(laws and policies that take effect in the absence of Congressional
legislation) that make things happen immediately - one of which
is getting this stimulus money on the streets and into the pockets
of Main Street (not Wall Street). Next thing you know, buildings
are going up, highways are being fixed, bridges are being repaired
and you’re sitting by the television asking the question, “why am
I not working.”
because those who know are working and those who are not either
don’t know or are waiting for economic stimulus package to knock
on their door, and as the late comedian Robin Harris once shout,
“JOB.” Those looking to be stimulated by the economy will have to
get out and look for it. It will not come looking for you. There
are town hall meetings taking place all around the country, helping
people plug in to the ARRA stimulus activity. In Los Angeles, one
is being held on Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at 10 a.m. at
the City of Refuge, 14527 S. San Pedro Street in Gardena, California.
Folk really need to get out and find out the whats, wheres and hows
as it relates to the stimulus package. What you don’t know can,
and will, hurt you in this economy.
Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national
columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum
and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through
Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com.
to contact Dr. Samad.