Alan Caruba
The government's endless orgy of spending
By Alan Caruba
September 28, 2013

I frequently marvel that a loon like Nancy Pelosi could have become Speaker of the House and is currently the House minority leader. Recently she said, "The cupboard is bare. There's no more cuts to make. It's really important that people understand that. We cannot have cuts just for the sake of cuts."

This is dishonesty on a galactic scale. It also provides an insight into why, short of the mandatory sequestration that went into effect last year when Congress could not come to any agreement on any cuts, the government continues to spend money in ways that are just short of criminal.

In July, a Rasmussen poll determined that 62% of likely voters thought the government should cut spending in response to the nation's economic problems. That percentage was actually down from the previous month's 65% and was the lowest support for reduced spending since August 2012.

That same month, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that 83% of Americans disapproved of the job performance of Congress. Approval of President Obama's job performance was closely divided between 45% approval and 50% disapproval.

There are any number of think tanks and citizen's organizations that keep tabs on government spending, but their periodic reports and news release seem to have no impact whatever. That's something that members of Congress and others inside the Beltway know.

At a time when Republicans and Democrats will lock horns over raising the debt ceiling and the President thinks that any effort to defund the Affordable Care Act is the result of the Republicans "messing with me" and not a reflection of how widely disliked Obamacare is, it is instructive to look at just a few of the ways public funding is being regularly and routinely squandered in ways that are obscene.

As just one small example, one good way to save taxpayer dollars would be to shut down the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is spending $5.7 million on a project to develop card games, videos and other "educational" programs "to engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change." The Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) was established by Congress in 2009 and, to date, it has already spent $46 million on the "threat" of something that doesn't even exist, global warming.

One of the NSF's grants went to a study of what motivates workers, love or money? It cost $179,784. Another NSF grant, $2.25 on Tasmanian Devil facial tumors. This is an animal native to an island off the coast of Australia nowhere else. Part of another a half-million dollar grant was used to develop a video game the stimulated a high school prom. The NSF funded $350,000 to Purdue University to study how golfers could improve their game.

The NSF may take top honors for insanely wasteful programs and projects, but there is hardly a single department of the government that does not do the same thing. All that whining and wailing about sequestration was really about having fewer dollars to waste and fewer people with which to waste it.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration lets 5,700 pieces of unused security equipment sit in storage in a Dallas, Texas warehouse. Worth $184 million, it costs the TSA $3.5 million annually to lease the space.

As Obamacare expands the role of the Internal Revenue Service and we learn how some of its administrators targeted, denying or delaying, a common tax-exempt status to conservative groups routinely granted to all manner of other kinds of organizations, let us not forget the $4.1 million the IRS spent in 2010 on a lavish conference for employees.

The Department of Agriculture awarded a $149,000 grant to researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey to study how to eliminate the "freshman 15" extra weight that these students pack on when they can eat anything and as much as they want.

Morocco must have one heck of a good lobbyist because the Labor Department spent $1 million there to improve "gender equality" in the workforce there. The State Department spent $450,000 to develop "green jobs."

Dave Ramsey, who advises people on radio, TV and in print on how to manage their personal finances, has said, "The fact is that government can get out of debt the same way you get out of debt. You quit borrowing money. You quit spending. You balance the budget. But to do all of that, you'll need to make some sacrifices."

The only reason sequestration went into effect was because a blue-ribbon panel of members of Congress could not agree to any reductions in spending.

Now we must endure a few weeks of meaningless political haggling to increase the debt ceiling while the government continues its orgy of senseless spending on projects and programs like those noted above.

© Alan Caruba


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Alan Caruba

(Editor's note: Alan Caruba passed away on June 15, 2015. You can read his obituary here.)

Best known these days as a commentator on issues ranging from environmentalism to energy, immigration to Islam, Alan Caruba is the author of two recent books, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy" and "Warning Signs" -- both collections of his commentaries since 2000 and both published by Merril Press of Bellevue, Washington... (more)


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