Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The High Cost of Circuses...

Coburn's 'Waste Book' details $19 billion in eye-opening government expenses
What do robotic squirrels, menus for Martian meals and a musical about climate change have in common?

They've all been made possible with taxpayer assistance, according to the latest survey of government waste put out by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
Coburn's book details 100 examples of Federal government waste that total over $19 billion - with a "b" - dollars. It touches on the Obamaphone, the various and sundry bridges to nowhere, and even a $700K musical about global warming. Folks, I couldn't make this up if I tried. In fact, I'll bet if on April 1st I were to post about the new smash hit Broadway musical about global warming, y'all would laugh at me for such an implausible story.

What's particularly irksome is that this kind of list has been floating around for, well, years if not decades. Ted Stevens was responsible for the nearly $400 million dollar bridge that connected a town of 50 people to a larger town - rather than the existing ferry, and the "bridge to nowhere" because symbolic of government waste. This was in 2005, and yet the list of ridiculous projects continues some seven years later. Heck, the $700 hammer and $1500 toilet seats were items of outrage in the 1980s.

You have to wonder how much less we could be paying in taxes - while still retaining the same essential services - without all of these earmarks. Heck, keep taxes the same, get rid of the bridges to nowhere and free Obamaphones and musicals about global warming and I'd wager you could fully fund a bunch of infrastructure-type projects. You know, ones that might not have been "shovel ready" - which apparently meant "photogenic" - but necessary...

At the very least they could fund a free blood pressure med giveaway for those of us paying playing along at home...

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

5 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

Sen. William Proxmire used to issue a "Golden Fleece Award" to the biggest boondoggle each year, and then it became a report with multiple topics. Coburn's list is just the latest in a long line of "look! over there!" from Congress which results in (drumroll, please) NO ACTION WHATSOEVER.

PoppaJ said...

Senator Coburn has been a lone voice in the wilderness fighting waste in gooberment since he was in the House of Representatives. He's also voluntarily term-limited himself so the next time his seat comes up for election he won't be on the ballott.

Joe said...

What irritates me is when you point out all this waste to people they usually reply with, "Well, it's only .00001% of the budget so why do anything about it?" They don't seem to understand you take that small percent of the budget and multiply it a thousand times and suddenly you have $19 billion.

Anonymous said...

What's particularly irksome is that this kind of list has been floating around for, well, years if not decades. Ted Stevens was responsible for the nearly $400 million dollar bridge that connected a town of 50 people to a larger town - rather than the existing ferry, and the "bridge to nowhere" because symbolic of government waste. This was in 2005, and yet the list of ridiculous projects continues some seven years later. Heck, the $700 hammer and $1500 toilet seats were items of outrage in the 1980s.

What's written above is while not completely false has some truth. Just like the McDonald's coffee burn victim, this is a beautiful example of spin. The 'bridge to nowhere' was for two bridges, one connecting the small town to it's airport (would you like to wait on a ferry when you're being medevac'd?)the other bridge would've connected Anchorage to an undeveloped area that you now have to drive 120 miles to get to. Why is there a bridge and tunnel system across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay? Couldn't people just go around?

And as for the crazy expensive hand tools (and nuts & bolts), they were put in that way to pad the contracts.

JFM

Geodkyt said...

Of course, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was funded by bonds repaid via tolls on users. Just like 44 in VA Beach (and boy, was there an outcry from the takers in Richmond when it was proposed that, since the 44 bonds had long been repaid, the tools ought to go away!)