The Obama Administration’s committments to increase the pace of stimulus funding expenditures over the next 100 days was met with skepticism by some in the media. Several media stories, including an article in The Washington Post, highlighted the limited effects of stimulus actions on unemployment so far. The Associated Press labeled the President’s comments “summer reruns.”
The unemployment rate is a heartbreaking 9.4%. And 42% of those participating in a Gallup Poll released yesterday said they disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy–up 12 points since February. President Obama himself said, “…I’m not satisfied. We’ve got more work to do.”
These concerns are shared by many companies serving the government sector. As we have talked this week with vendors and public safety agencies at the UASI (Urban Area Security Initiatives) Conference, a consistent theme of uncertainty and confusion can be detected over where and when money will be available.
First, this wave of pressure from the media and others, while interesting, will probably have little effect on moving the needle with regards to funding. Fundamental bottlenecks exist that will not allow the money flow to break loose overnight. Agencies bearing responsibility for managing these grants are still not adequately staffed to handle the huge influx of applications; and “transparency” initiatives add administrative burdens to the process. Disbursements will move slower than expected, not faster.
Second, the money will begin flowing by the end of calendar year (good news for providers). Vendors using this “season of uncertainty” to trim costs, focus on value creation, and develop partnering relationships will emerge from these challenging times with a solid foundation for future success.