A Government Accountability Office report released Thursday shows that the Department of Energy has spent more than $1.9 billion in so-called stimulus funds to create 10,018 jobs through May, an average of $194,213spent per full-time job created.
"As a small business owner for nearly 22 years, I'm shocked that these jobs cost taxpayers nearly $195,000 each," U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said. "Taxpayers deserve more for their investment. This is more evidence that the private sector is far more capable than the federal government at creating the long-term jobs required for a sustainable economic recovery."
"It looks like the Department of Energy got in over its head when it was handed $6 billion in stimulus money to create jobs by accelerating environmental cleanup work. This report says that DOE managed its timetables well enough, but it also indicates that so far, the jobs that DOE created cost $194,213 each," said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
While DOE reports that it created 10,018 jobs through May of this year, the department has also used a more unorthodox methodology to inflate job creation in some of its reports, a methodology the GAO says may mislead the public. For example, using the method GAO was critical of, the agency reports roughly 20,000 jobs created through May of this year, counting the number of "lives touched" in some documents.
Barton and Walden, then-ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, asked the GAO in March 2009 to examine the Department of Energy's management of the stimulus funding for environmental cleanup. U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, later joined the request when he became the subcommittee's ranking member.
"It seems our concerns about DOE's ability to effectively and efficiently used the funds given to them have become reality. This is yet another example of how, despite the White House's assertions, the almost $1 trillion of stimulus funding has failed to stimulate anything other than government bureaucracy," Burgess said.
The lawmakers were concerned about the department's ability to manage the extra $6 billion in funding DOE was provided in the stimulus effort, given the agency's difficulty in managing environmental cleanup spending in a cost-effective manner. The funds were supposed to create jobs and promote economic recovery by expanding and accelerating the environmental cleanup of hazardous and radiological waste at the nation's nuclear weapons complex.
The report shows DOE has taken some positive steps to manage the spending and meet project timetables, but also finds that DOE does not clearly show how the funding has impacted job creation or will reduce environmental risks and future cleanup costs.