The daily national headlines are buzzing around in my head and I have to sit down, close my eyes, and breathe deeply. In my head I say over and over, “Serenity Now. Serenity Now”. The media frenzy is blitzing on. They assure us that America is getting closer to the economic edge. “Another Great Depression is on the way”! That statement rings in our ears and thoughts twenty-four hours a day. Ah, the media. Whose side are they really on? Democrats and Republicans are throwing mud balls at each other (as usual). “Serenity Now. Serenity Now”. President Obama’s administration is trying to right the “great wrong” it has “inherited”. To this end, the Obama administration has the Recovery.gov website up and running. I desperately want to believe they (President Obama and his advisors) are on the right path for our country. “Recovery.gov. Recovery.gov”.
The Recovery.gov website has been established to provide the American people with a governmental transparency that no other administration has provided before. It is a stately and reassuring website, with a photograph of President Obama and a video clip of him explaining the website and the purpose of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that has just passed. It seems we, the American people, will finally get an insider’s look at how those in our nation’s capital are spending the tax dollars they so efficiently extract from us for each and every working enterprise we engage in. I want to believe they are on the right path for our country. “Recovery.gov. Recovery.gov”.
There is a top level breakdown of the $787 billion dollar Act on the website. Curiously, you can’t hover over the line items and see a further breakdown. That especially intrigues me when I read the last line item: “Other-$8 billion”. I guess transparency to that detail is not important for me to fret about. Eight billion dollars must be miniscule on the Obama White House radar. If it is miniscule on their radar, why should it matter to me? I see a red flag in my mind but I want to believe. “Recovery.gov. Recovery.gov”.
There is a timeline of proposed deadlines of accountability. There is a map of the United States in blue. If you hover over each state, they turn beige and an information box with the number of jobs in each state the Act hopes to create within the next 2 years flashes in front of you. I must try to believe. “Recovery.gov. Recovery.gov”.
I dutifully follow a series of links to other websites that finally guided me to a PDF version of the 407 page Act. I put my reading glasses on, get out my highlighter and begin to read. Three or four reads later, I still don’t know what “Other-$8 billion” means. So I turn to the political websites; to the experts, both by Republicans and Democrats to find guidance in understanding thoroughly where all the money is going. I get caught in the buzzing and the mud ball fights. (The names these grown men and women call each other!) I get more and more frustrated trying to grasp full comprehension of the Act, the text of which is not even on Recovery.gov. I can feel my stress level rising. My optimism begins to fade and I have to revert to old tactics to try to calm down. “Serenity Now. Serenity Now. Serenity Now”!