- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
THOMAS: Santa Claus government
Most children have probably finished their Christmas lists to Santa Claus. Some elected officials, however, are still compiling theirs.
Close behind Detroit’s wish list comes a long one from America’s mayors.
Last Monday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors sent its list of wishes to the political equivalent of Santa Claus: Congress. The mayors apparently figure with all the talk from President-elect Obama about infrastructure repair and job creation, they might as well try to pile onto Santa’s lap, too.
The mayors claim the economy will be stimulated if their wishes are granted. What do they want? The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has analyzed the 72-page list. Here are some of the lowlights.
- $1.102 billion in projects involving sidewalks.
- $1 million for annual sewer rehabilitation in Casper, Wyo.
- $6.1 million for corporate hangars, parking lots and a business apron at the Fayetteville, Ark., airport.
- Fifteen projects with the term “stadium” in them, including a $150 million Metromover extension to the Florida Marlins’ baseball stadium.
- Eighty-one projects mentioning “landscaping” and/or beautification efforts.
Kristina Rasmussen, NTU’s director of government affairs, offers more analysis of the mayors’ report on NTU’s blog: “Total cost of the wish list is $73,163,299,303. They claim this will create an estimated 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010. Divide that out, and you get a cost to taxpayers of $86,314 per job. Not exactly a great deal.”
No, it is not a great deal in that sense, but it is a great deal … of money, not that this matters these days with hundreds of billions being tossed around as if it were confetti. But who’s counting? Certainly not Congress; Congress has opened the purse strings faster than a bank teller faced with Willie Sutton’s stick-up gun.
Here’s one proposal I especially like: $1.5 million for an initiative in Dayton, Ohio, for the “Reduce Prostitution-Off the Streets Program.” The proposed spending would “connect individuals involved in prostitution with resources to leave a life of prostitution.” I guess Ronald Reagan was right when he observed, “It has been said that politics is the second-oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
The Beach Boys might like this one: “$6,000,000: Ventura, Calif., Water Surfers Point Improvements.” “This project is to protect the beach with natural buried cobble stone, create sand dunes over the buried cobble, relocate, and rebuild the State Owned Omer Rains beach front bike path, and construct parking lot and drainage.”
Where in the Constitution is there authorization for such spending?
About the Author
By Brahma Chellaney
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