States spend federal COVID aid on roads, buildings, seawalls

The money came too late to impact public health and after tax receipts had recovered so:

Relatively little of the federal aid has gone toward traditional public health purposes, according to an Associated Press review of reports filed by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly more has gone toward public infrastructure. States are pouring money into water, sewer and high-speed internet projects, as specifically envisioned by the law. But the AP found that they’re also spending billions of dollars on roads, bridges, sidewalks, airports, rail lines and buildings at college campuses and government agencies — justifying all of it under the federal government’s generous flexibility.



Except for the buildings at college campuses and government agencies, it’s well spent.


Oh - don’t get me wrong - I’m not categorically against the projects the money was spent on, just that, as a taxpayer, there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to spend it on the type of projects that Congress budgeted it for and is interesting to note as an object lesson in government (either good or bad, depending on how you interpret it).


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Jeff, I see it your way. I kind of neutral but not feeling it is right.

A friend, older guy stock broker, was complaining about all the free money tonight as we were talking in the club. He is a hard head so eventually I said, “you are complaining about most people who are working getting anything but you until last week were with Wells Fargo. That bank took tens of billions in 2009 - 10 and more in bond purchases. Where do you think your job came from”? How legit is that even if the money is directed by a federal entity?

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I think it would be very difficult (and inefficient) for the Federal government to monitor State spending allocations unless there are some penalties involved (and what would they be except future reductions or clawbacks?).

In the end, federal money becomes general revenue to a state and they use it for their most pressing needs.
This relies on trust that the national needs and state needs largely align.

It can quickly become divisive instead of unifying.



The Feds have a history of tighter more restrictive rules for state spending of federal funds.

Part of the problem is the divide of Medicaid enactments in different states. The ignorant state leaders who would not take care of the poor with health problems drove a wedge down between rational and irrational economic planning on the federal level. During the pandemic funding restrictions were loosened up in the hopes of some of them acting rationally.

I agree if federal money is used in one area it frees up state monies for other areas. That is purposeful.