Obama's Stimulus Sign Language

Paying for president's marketing plan

It's not quite pay-to-play, but it is a twist on the Chicago Way:

The Obama administration is asking contractors who receive stimulus funds for roadwork projects to foot the bill for those signs that tout the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

And by asking, we mean "strongly encouraging."

Wink, wink.

It's a Chicago thing.

The signs only cost an estimated $500 each, including installation, but the propaganda value far exceeds the price tag.

For one thing, the signs could have a long lifespan.

Around some parts of Chicago one can still see the name of long-ago Cook County Sheriff Richard Elrod plastered on the sides of buildings, and if you just awoke from a coma some signage could lead you to believe that Rod Blagojevich was still governor.

Meanwhile, you can hardly walk more than a few feet in any direction without seeing something official stamped with the mayor's name -- as if anyone could forget that Daley runs this joint.

Granted, It's nice to let taxpayers know how their money is being used, and to point out the fruits of the stimulus bill, but we know how this works, and there are too many Chicagoans in the White House for those signs to have not elicited a few knowing smirks when they were being discussed.

At least Obama has figured out how to outsource the cost, though.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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