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From prb@MCS.COM Fri Aug 23 16:37:17 PDT 1996
Article: 59161 of alt.revisionism
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From: prb@MCS.COM (Paul Botts)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,alt.politics.usa.republican,alt.conspiracy,alt.conspiracy.jfk,alt.fan.rush-limbaugh,alt.fan.newt-gingrich,alt.politics.perot,alt.politics.radical-left,alt.politics.democrats.d
Subject: Re: Steven Spielberg awarded $1M federal grant
Date: 23 Aug 1996 11:51:30 -0500
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In article <4v80ea$lb6@dfw-ixnews4.ix.netcom.com>,
Charles  wrote:
>  From the 8/12/96 issue of the excellent weekly populist newspaper THE
>SPOTLIGHT:
>
>            "Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Penn) and Barbara Boxer
>             (D. Calif.) presented multimillionaire Steven
>             Spielberg with a $1 million federal grant to work 
>             on a massive holocaust documentation project, the         
>             Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation."
>
>  I wonder how many top-of-the-line computers that initial $1 million
>given to (billionaire?) Spielberg could have bought for inner-city U.S.
>schoolkids? My estimate: @ $2,000 each, about 500 complete Pentium
>systems loaded w/CD-ROMS, monitors, 1-gigabyte-HDs, 12MB of RAM,
>educational software . . .   
>  How many bored inner-city teenagers arrested this summer could have
>instead received a tiny piece of that $1 million as salary for
>community service while school was out? Let's see: 1000 kids' receiving
>summer paychecks @ $1000 each = exactly $1 million . . . 
>  OTOH, I do understand how the financially-strapped Jewish-American
>community truly NEEDED that initial $1 million grant in order to get
>the ambitious project off the ground. God knows they don't have the
>funds to have launched the project out of their own pockets.
>  Truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction, and the thought of Mr.
>Spielberg smilingly receiving that oversized $1 million check from the
>American taxpayers proves it, IMO.
>  May God help us.

Perhaps God could, as a start, help you understand the first thing about
public funding and contract law.

A federal "grant" as described above is in fact a *contract for
services*, not a gift of support as would be, say, a foundation "grant".
They are fundamentally, legally, different. A contract, such as
Spielberg was awarded, is where one party agrees to give another party
something in exchange for the second party doing or providing something.
In this case, the government has contracted with Spielberg to produce some
product(s) which, through the legally-required competitive grantmaking
process, it determined was worth $1,000,000.

The story doesn't say, but from the wording it sounds as if this is a
"cost-reimbursable" contract. In that case, Spielberg's profit on it, by
law, is zero, zip, nada. He is reimbursed for direct expenses for work
under the contract, which must be as he proposed when seeking the
contract, and which must be "reasonable" as defined in the federal regs
(see in particular OMB circulars A-122 and A-110), and specifically
cannot include certain types of expenses ("entertainment" costs, for
example).

None of that means necessarily that this is a *wise* contract from the
public agency's (or Spielberg's) point of view, or that it is in fact
the best use of the million dollars. It simply means that no matter what
the mediots or their readers think, it is not a "grant" in the sense
that most people understand that word. It is a *contract* in which the
government is paying for a service, exactly the same as a contract with
a janitorial service to sweep up at the Washington Monument.

-- 
This email was sent by Paul Botts:  prb@mcs.com
	Home page: http://www.mcs.net/~prb/
I will be on vacaton and away from email from 8/24/96 through 9/3/96.




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