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A sign of the (stimulus) times

By Sean Ryan

For all of you folks stuck in construction traffic and wondering whether it’s a stimulus project or not (and who hasn’t really), the city of Milwaukee is planning on putting up signs to settle the confusion.

The city of Milwaukee is considering putting up signs to publicize the fact that the road project you're stuck in is brought to you by the ARRA. (Photo courtesy of the city of Milwaukee)

The city of Milwaukee is considering putting up signs to publicize the fact the road project that has slowed down traffic in front of you is courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Photo courtesy of the city of Milwaukee)

City aldermen are considering requiring the signs on every road project that receives American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money. The proposed signs, which feature a guy with a football-shaped head (think Stewie from “Family Guy”) pushing a big broom, proudly announces “Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

These stimulus signs have been a contentious argument between those who want stimulus money spent on roadwork rather than on signs saying stimulus money is being spent on roadwork.

I first heard city officials kick around the idea of stimulus signs in September after residents complained to aldermen that they didn’t see ARRA in action. Back then, U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., tried to ban the signs with his cleverly named, but unsuccessful “Axe the Stimulus Plaques Act.”

I have no problem with the stimulus signs (people are put to work making them, after all), but I also don’t see the point. Advertising is meant to make people support your product in the future. But how soon are we going to see another economic blowout that will generate a need for public support for another multi-billion stimulus program?

I hope these aren’t (ahem) signs of things yet to come.

Sean Ryan is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. His sign is (ahem) Virgo.

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