Skip to comments.Great Moments in Government
Posted on 07/27/2014 3:09:47 PM PDT by Kaslin
You wont know whether to laugh or cry after perusing these stories that will be added to our great moments in government collection.
For instance, did you realize that American taxpayers were saddled with the responsibility to micro-manage agriculture in Afghanistan? Youre probably surprised the answer is yes.
But I bet youre not surprised that the money was flushed down a toilet. Here are some excerpts from a report on how $34 million was wasted.
American agricultural experts who consider soybeans a superfood have invested tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to try to change the way Afghans eat. The effort, aimed at making soy a dietary staple, has largely been a flop, marked by mismanagement, poor government oversight and financial waste, according to interviews and government audit documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Warnings by agronomists that the effort was unwise were ignored. The countrys climate turns out to be inappropriate for soy cultivation and its farming culture is ill-prepared for large-scale soybean production. Soybeans are now no more a viable commercial crop in Afghanistan than they were in 2010, when the $34 million program got started The ambitious effort also appears to have been undone by a simple fact, which might have been foreseen but was evidently ignored: Afghans dont like the taste of the soy processed foods.
Sadly, this $34 million boondoggle is just the tip of the iceberg. Its been said that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Well, its also the graveyard of tax dollars.
the projects problems model the larger shortcomings of the estimated $120 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, including what many experts depict as ignorance of Afghan traditions, mismanagement and poor spending controls. No one has calculated precisely how much the United States wasted or misspent in Afghanistan, but a special auditor appointed by President Obama the following year said he discovered nearly $7 billion worth of Afghanistan-related waste in just his first year on the job.
Im guessing that most of the $120 billion was squandered using traditional definitions of waste.
But using a libertarian definition of waste (i.e., money that the federal government should not spend), we can easily calculate that the entire $120 billion was squandered.
Lets now discuss another example of American taxpayer money being wasted in other nations. Ive written previously about the squalid corruption at the Export-Import Bank, but Veronique de Rugy of Mercatus is the go-to expert on this issue, and she has a new article at National Review about a project in Brazil that, if it goes bust and the Brazilians cant pay the American contractor, your tax dollars will end up paying for.
And what is this project?
an Export-Import Bankbacked deal to build the largest aquarium in South America the taxpayer exposure is $150,000 per job supported. Some people in Brazil are rightly upset about this. The Ex-Im loan may have lower interest rates and better terms than a regular loan, but this is probably money the indebted and poor Brazilian government cant afford. a real problem with the Ex-Im Bank: On one hand, it gives cheap money to large companies who would have access to capital markets even in its absence. But on the other hand, it encourages middle-income or poor countries to take on debt that they probably cant afford, whether the products purchased are made in America or not.
Gee, arent we happy that some bureaucrats and politicians have decided to put us on the hook for a Brazilian aquarium.
But lets try to make the best of a bad situation. Heres a depiction of what youre subsidizing. Enjoy.
Subsidized by American taxpayers
I hope you got your moneys worth from the image.
Perhaps Im being American-centric by focusing on examples of bad policies from the crowd in Washington.
So lets look at an example of government foolishness from Germany. It doesnt involve tax money being wasted (at least not directly), but I cant resist sharing this story because its such a perfect illustration of government in action.
Check out these excerpts from a British news report on over-zealous enforcement by German cops.
A one-armed man in Germany has received a full apology and refund from the police after an overzealous officer fined him for cycling using only one arm. Bogdan Ionescu, a theatre box office worker from Cologne, gets around the usually cycle-friendly city using a modified bicycle that allows him to operate both brakes one with his foot. But on 25 March he was pulled over by a police officer who, he says, told him he was breaking the law. Under German road safety rules, bicycles are required to have to have two handlebar brakes. After a long argument at the roadside, the officer insisted that Mr Ionescus bike was not roadworthy and issued him with a 25 (£20) fine.
At least this story had a happy ending, at least if you overlook the time and aggravation for Mr. Ionescu.
Our last (but certainly not least) example of foolish government comes from Nebraska, though the culprit is the federal government.
But maybe disconcerting would be a better word than foolish.
It seems that our friends on the left no longer think that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. In a very troubling display of thuggery, the Justice Department dispatched a bureaucrat to investigate a satirical parade float.
Heres some of what was reported by the Washington Times.
The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to investigate a Nebraska parade float that criticized President Obama. A Fourth of July parade floatfeatured at the annual Independence Day parade in Norfolk sparked criticism when it depicted a zombie-like figure resembling Mr. Obama standing outside an outhouse, which was labeled the Obama Presidential Library. The Nebraska Democratic Party called the float one of the worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen. The Omaha World-Herald reported Friday that the Department of Justice sent a CRSmember who handles discrimination disputes to a Thursday meeting about the issue. The floats creator, Dale Remmich, has said the mannequin depicted himself, not President Obama. He said he is upset with the presidents handling of the Veterans Affairs Department, the World-Herald reported. Looking at the float, that message absolutely did not come through, said NAACP chapter president Betty C. Andrews.
If you look at the picture (and other pictures that can be seen with an online search), I see plenty of disrespect for the current president, but why is that something that requires an investigation?
There was plenty of disrespect for the previous president. And there as also disrespect for the president before that. And before that. And before well, you get the idea.
Disrespect for politicians is called political speech, and its (supposedly) protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Thats even true if the floats creator had unseemly motives such as racism. He would deserve scorn if that was the case, and parade organizers would (or at least should) have the right to exclude him on that basis.
But you dont lose your general right to free speech just because you have unpopular and/or reprehensible opinions. And the federal government shouldnt be doing anything that can be construed as suppressing or intimidating Americans who want to disrespect the political class.
P.S. Since were on the topic of politicized bureaucracy, we have an update to a recent column about sleazy behavior at the IRS.
According to the Daily Caller, theres more and more evidence of a big fire behind all the smoke at the IRS.
Ex-IRS official Lois Lerners computer hard drive was scratched and the data on it was still recoverable. But the IRS did not try to recover the data from Lerners hard drive, despite recommendations from in-house IRS IT experts to outsource the recovery project. The hard drive was then shredded, according to a court filing the IRS made to House Ways and Means Committee investigators.
Gee, how convenient.
I used to dislike the IRS because of the tax code. Now I have an additional reason to view the bureaucrats with disdain.
P.P.S. One last comment on the controversy surrounding the parade float. Racism is an evil example of collectivist thinking. But it is also reprehensible for folks on the left to make accusations of racism simply because they disagree with someone.
Why we send so many tax dollars overseas is a mystery I’ll never understand.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
” American agricultural experts who consider soybeans a superfood have invested tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to try to change the way Afghans eat.”
Soybean, huh? Ping
I didn’t know Michelle was messing with the Afghan school lunch program as well as ours.
I guess it’s her way of motivating them to mass destruction.
Soy effects the body like estrogen.
Anyway, some Afghans do grow grapes but now that the Taliban are fighting their way back, the people can’t harvest their grapes...
If the ROE had been different...
Yeah, and our leadership wants to negotiate with the tallywhack.
Yep. That's what Ground Chuck said.
"What is the shortest book in the world, Alex"?
There on the island of lost TVs, where the moat of quickmud kept the keep from being stormed, and the golem sentries swam laps at a snail pace to keep the sharks at bay...