Last week, we compared a bone-headed display of incompetence by the German government with a perverse form of harassment by a local government in the United States.
We have another America-v-Europe contest, but the roles are reversed. This time, the buffoons in Washington get dinged for a spectacular screw-up, and it is a local government in England that earns ridicule for a brainless decision.
Let’s start in America, where a Virginia newspaper has the gory details, including this excerpt.
They are the two ships no one wanted, almost constantly embroiled in one dispute or another for the past 25 years. The two Navy behemoths have never gone on a mission, were never even completed, yet they cost taxpayers at least $300 million. Now the vessels, the Benjamin Isherwood and the Henry Eckford, are destined to leave Virginia waters for good and be scrapped at a Texas salvage yard, with no money coming back to the U.S. Treasury.
Isn’t that wonderful. A $600 million disbursement of tax dollars, getting absolutely nothing in exchange. Though I suppose that’s better than some other federal expenditures that have negative rates-of-return.
Now let’s turn to the United Kingdom, where a local government put a keep-off-the-grass sign on a plot of grass so small that it would be a challenge for two people to stand in it. Here are the key passages from a Daily Mail story.
It’s a patch of scruffy grass barely big enough to sit down on – but that hasn’t stopped one town hall making a great deal of fuss about it. The verge measures only 3ft by 2ft but has its own ‘Keep Off The Grass’ sign. The warning has appeared as officials plan £70million of cuts. Resident Tom Beardmore, 29, said he was ‘flabbergasted’ when he saw it in Raynes Park, south-west London. …A council spokeswoman said the matter was being looked into but was unable to confirm how much the sign had cost or why it was placed there.
Maybe I’m just being jingoistic, but I think the Brits win this contest. Yes, the American government flushed a lot more money down the toilet, but there is something truly breathtaking about what happened in London.