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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Numbers please?

We're from the government and we're here to help you -- count.

Excellent piece of reporting in today's Globe on how many jobs stimulus dollars are supposed to have have created -- and what the reality is.

While I'm sure critics of the Obama administration (and Deval Patrick too) will latch onto the exercise as proof positive of fraud and other nefarious things, I think the answer may be more simple.

It's a government form, ergo it's confusing as all hell.

At least that's the reason I come to after reading the accounts of organizations who submitted the documentation.

A quick scan of the list suggests worthwhile projects that seem to have good intentions like adding or retaining teachers and cops. At first blush, nothing seems an outrageous use of federal dollars.

But the need to document the work -- for good government and also for political safety -- seems to have resulted in confusion and exaggeration.

So, for now, the moral of the story is no crimes here. And a reminder that there isn't a document or reporting requirement that can't be made complicated beyond belief.

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