Skip to comments.Great Moments in Government Waste and Inefficiency
Posted on 07/14/2014 1:55:00 PM PDT by Kaslin
Its difficult being a libertarian.
In addition to all the other challenges (such as trying to convince people stealing doesnt become okay simply because the government is the middleman), I get conflicted about government waste.
Youre probably thinking Im wandering off the libertarian reservation. After all, arent libertarians big opponents of boondoggles, government waste, and pork-barrel spending?
All true, but heres my challenge: I also dont want efficient government.
In other words, our goal should be to shrink government, not to make it work better. To understand the point Im making, ponder these questions:
Do we want government to efficiently lure people into dependency?
Do we want government to efficiently socialize health care?
Do we want government to efficiently cartelize the agriculture sector?
I hope the answer to all these questions is NO, which is why I generally focus my work on structural changes to shrink the size and scope of government.
But every so often, notwithstanding everything I just wrote, I cant resist pointing out really absurd examples of wasteful spending. And today we have two jaw-dropping examples.
We know that government bureaucracies like palatial buildings and that cost overruns are the rule rather than the exception. Well, one of the new bureaucracies created by the Dodd-Frank bailout bill is setting records for extravagance with its new headquarters.
The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is renovating the Washington, D.C., headquarters it rentsat a cost per square foot that is more expensive than Trump World Tower in New York City. The CFPB project is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $215 million Cost projections have increased $65 million in six months and $120 million since last years estimate. Some of the buildings extravagant features include a four-story glass staircase, two-story waterfall and a sunken garden.
But whats really amazing is that all this money is being spent on a rented building and that the cost of renovating is far greater than what was spent on building (yes, building, not just renovating) some of the worlds most famous landmark structures.
Now for our second example.
Weve all heard about how big chunks of education spending get wasted on bureaucracy and dont get used for classroom instruction.
And we read about how welfare bureaucrats consume a lot of money that supposedly is targeted to help poor people.
This principle also applies to other forms of government spending.
CNN reports that the federal governments program for emergency food aid around the world is such a cluster-you-know-what that barely a bit more than one-third of money is actually spent on food for crisis-stricken regions.
International typhoons, hurricanes, and earthquakes leave behind devastating scenes of poverty and need. If you had about a $1.5 billion every year to send food to such desperate areas, how would you do it? The way the U.S. provides international food aid is an antiquated and bureaucratic tangle. Food largely has to be purchased here in the U.S., and then shipped on boats by U.S. cargo carriers to the trouble spots. The Government Accountability Office says that 65% of the money for this aid program is spent on shipping and business costs not on food. its a system that has helped shipping companies and unions win billions in government contracts, companies like Maersk. Theres also the transport workers unions. The two leading maritime unions gave more than three quarters of a million dollars to members of the current House of Representatives in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
Geesh, what a typical example of insider corruption.
This is yet another piece of evidence for my view that disaster relief is not a function of the federal government.
P.S. Regarding the theme of todays column, Fred Smith, the founder and former President of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told me on more than one occasion that we should be thankful we dont get all the government we pay for.
the actual cost is probably the same; the increase represents the amount going into Obama crony’s pockets.
We should be thankful that we don’t get all the government we pay for. - Mark Twain.
Always recognize a DM headline........
The said they couldn’t account for $100 billion a year recently didn’t they?
And all this wasteful spending is on top of that.