We are naturally focused on the billions being poured out currently to stave off economic collapse (which it may do temporarily, but not long-term). Yet the only reason we find it so easy to spend that money is because we have a culture in the government that says everyone should receive something from the taxpayers.
Every so often, someone releases a list of where taxpayer money is going. Thanks to Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for the latest. Here are samples, with my comments:
$188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam” [I was unaware the Lobster Institute was a government agency–and why are we spying on the poor lobsters?] $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs [Does this mean you can enjoy viewing the devastation?] $2.4 million for a retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia [Undoubtedly another project approved by Sen. Byrd; do you think this canopy will be named after him, like everything else in West Virginia?] $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 – 8 years early [Well, we wouldn’t want to wait until the last moment] $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want [Anytime you can find anything the Pentagon doesn’t want, don’t buy it] $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things [Now this is exactly what the federal government needs to be focusing on–the national security implications are staggering] $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis [So is this a “federal” zoo?] $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee [At least it’s non-functioning, thereby making it similar to most government programs] $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants [Thank goodness they are “specialty” potatoes and not ordinary ones–we wouldn’t want to waste money on something ordinary]
The one factor all these expenditures have in common is that there is no authority in the Constitution for Congress to legislate or spend for any of them. At least Congress is being consistent.