Never before has so much money gone out the door so quickly and that makes it incredibly important to track how this money is being spent.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/21/jennieo3.art.jpg
caption="Stimulus cash is being spent in diverse ways, such as turkey for food banks and soup kitchens."]
The $787 billion economic stimulus is starting to work its way into the economy – by most estimates, about 10 percent has gone out the door.
So where it is going? You can see for yourself on www.recovery.gov. The diverse uses of your money are, well, tantalizing.
How about $5,378,600 for Jennie-O turkey? And $16,784,000 for canned pork?
Stimulus cash for meat? Recovery.gov doesn't specify what the contracts are for, but a quick call to USDA confirmed that stimulus funds are purchasing $100 million worth of food for food banks and soup kitchens.
And for the record, USDA tells us it is paying $1.99 per pound for the pork and is also purchasing 837,936 pounds of mozzarella.
The agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, says "This program will help reduce hunger of those hardest hit by the current economic recession."
We found a small contract for $251 to a company called Workingman's Family Store in Huntington, West Virginia. The money is for work boots for jobs created by the stimulus package, jobs for park rangers, patrol officers and contractors.
A manager for the store told us she didn't even know the store was a recipient of stimulus funds. Because of provisions against using the stimulus this way, the Army Corps of Engineers tells us they are refunding the purchase using general funds instead.
Finally, more typical of the types of stimulus projects – we found $783,776 to paint a bridge in Fort Riley, Kansas – given to a firm called OCCI Incorporated. The bridge spans the emergency spillway of Tuttle Creek.
Watch this space. The money is starting to move.