Cutting aid programs would be a great way to reduce government waste!!!

______________________________

Cutting aid programs would be a great way to reduce government waste!!!

JANUARY 14, 2014 10:52AM

Wasteful Federal Aid to the States

Photo credit: House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

In my testimony last week to the House Oversight Committee, I focused on aid-to-state programs as a major source of waste in the federal budget.

The federal government spent about $560 billion on aid to the states in 2013, making it the third largest item in the budget after Social Security and defense.The aid system includes more than 1,100 different programs for education, housing, community development, and many other things.

The aid-to-state system is rife with waste and inefficiency. So I was not surprised to see that many of the 100 programs in Senator Tom Coburn’s new wastebook are aid programs. Federal aid stimulates overspending by state and local governments and encourages them to put money into dubious projects that they would not spend their own money on.

Here are some of the wasteful aid-to-state projects profiled by Coburn and his expert staff:

  • $1 million for a gold-plated bus stop in Arlington, Virginia
  • $50 million for a fancy parking lot (“transit center”) in Maryland that has quintupled in cost
  • $65 million for New York and New Jersey to advertise that they are (supposedly) good places to do business
  • $3.5 million for a New Hampshire airport to buy solar panels, which will save less than the cost of the project, and which are creating dangerous glare for pilots
  • $67 million for the Alaska Bridge to Nowhere
  • $195,000 from a substance-abuse program to throw a Hollywood party
  • $8 million for an unfinished, unneeded, and overbudget transportation conference center—which is named after a congressman—at South Carolina State University
  • $140,000 in housing aid to fix up some random house in Patterson, New Jersey, on which the city already spent $260,000, and which is only worth $171,000
  • $3.9 million on a tiny airport in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which has no daily commercial service
  • $1.25 million for the State of Florida to settle a lawsuit with one of its contractors
  • $532,000 to beautify one block on main street in Rossville, Kansas (pop. 1,150), which Google streetview indicates is a rather empty place
  • $30 million for “coastal conservation” in Mississippi, which is partly being spent on non-conservation items such as an art museum
  • $800,000 for Las Vegas to award a prize to someone who has a good economic development idea
  • $368,000 of “community development” money to an electric golf cart maker in Montana.

The money for all of these projects initially flows to Washington from taxpayers who live in the 50 states. It travels through the federal bureaucracies and funds generous salaries for many paper pushers, and then a reduced amount flows back to chosen state and local governments. Those governments treat the funding coming from the distant national capital as free, and they proceed to fritter it away on low-value and often hare-brained public and private schemes.

The bottom line is that the federal aid system is a roundabout and inefficient funding method for state, local, and private activities. Cutting aid programs would be a great way to reduce government waste.

Related posts: 

If you want to cut government waste then stop allowing people to get addicted to government programs!!!!

______________ If you want to cut government waste then stop allowing people  to get addicted to government programs!!!! November 3, 2013 1:07PM Lindbeck’s Law: The Self-Destructive Nature of Expanding Government Benefits By Alan Reynolds Share Relevant foresight from Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck, “Hazardous Welfare State Dynamics,” American Economic Review, May 1995: The basic dilemma of […]

Lots of Waste at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service!!!!

____________ Lots of Waste at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service!!!! November 5, 2013 12:50PM ICYMI: FMCS By Jim Harper Share During the hullaballoo around the government shutdown, the Washington Examiner published a jaw-dropping series of stories about blatant waste in an obscure federal agency called the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. These stories shouldn’t […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 440) A suggestion to cut some wasteful spending out of the government Part 6 (includes editorial cartoon)

(Emailed to White House on 3-15-13.) President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is […]

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: