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Archive for October 6th, 2011

As part of his latest “stimulus” scam, President Obama argues that the federal government should spend more money on infrastructure.

Yet there is widespread evidence that politicians use such projects to squander money – often in exchange for contributions from contractors and construction unions.

There’s a very unfortunate example of this phenomenon in my backyard. Fairfax County is part of a $7 billion (that’s not a misprint) project to extend the metro (subway) system to Dulles Airport.

The project is way over budget (which happens 99 percent of the time with government spending projects).

But what’s really remarkable is that supporters of the boondoggle now admit they lied to taxpayers.

What’s noteworthy isn’t the lie. Heck, they always lie and underestimate costs (and then pretend the subsequent cost-overruns were unpredictable and unforeseen).

But not many proponents actually ‘fess up and admit that taxpayers were intentionally deceived.

Here is some of what the DC Examiner said in an editorial denouncing the duplicity and mendacity of the project’s chief bureaucrat.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Chairman Charles Snelling finally admitted that he deliberately misled the public when he stated it was “beyond dispute” that Dulles Rail was “on time and on budget.” Turns out it is neither — a fact Snelling and his fellow MWAA Board members knew all along, stripping the last pretenses of transparency and accountability from one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation. Snelling later acknowledged that construction managers warned MWAA that the opening of Phase I would be delayed six months and that unexpected expenses were depleting the project’s contingency fund. …Snelling’s less-than-candid assurances were an attempt to deprive taxpayers of a true accounting of this runaway project before November’s county and state elections. But what do you expect when you sever the critical tie between voters and officials with the authority to spend public funds? Unaccountable political hacks like MWAA board members, who cannot be removed — even by the governor of Virginia — have no incentive to spend the people’s tax dollars wisely — or even to tell them the truth, for that matter.
 The answer, at least in part, is to do the opposite of what Obama is proposing. Abolish the Department of Transportation and get the federal government out of the business of funding local infrastructure.

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I’ve posted several times about the dangers of creating too much government dependency, including a set of cartoons that illustrates how small welfare states inevitably erode social capital and create big welfare states.

So you will understand that I am utterly depressed by this new chart from the Wall Street Journal showing that nearly half of all American households receive some sort of government handout.

What makes this chart especially frightening is that the numbers will get even worse as the baby boom generation retires.

Barring some dramatic change, America is doomed to become another Greece.

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