Last week I discussed the tendency for policymakers to treat the Pentagon like a giant jobs program. It was prompted by an article from the Associated Press on members of Congress shoving unwanted upgraded Abrams tanks down taxpayers’ throats because retooling tanks sustains jobs back in the district. As it turns out, former Reagan budget director David Stockman touches on the Abrams tank situation in his new book, The Great Deformation.
One of the realizations that helped me to dispense of the neoconish foreign policy views of my youth is that for federal policymakers, the Pentagon is like a giant jobs program. Regardless of need, a military installation or armament factory can generally count on the unwavering support of the member of Congress who represents the district or state where the facility is located.
According to The Hill, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Rush Limbaugh that the Republican Party is “primarily” to blame for the growth in government dependency:
An article in Politico reports that some policymakers are already using the tragedy in Boston to criticize the sequestration spending cuts that went into effect in March. With the nation’s nerves frayed, policymakers should choose their words more carefully.
The Government Accountability Office has released its third annual report on fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative federal programs and activities. Proponents of making the government more efficient view the findings as an opportunity to achieve cost savings. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with the government spending less money than it has to, the goal should be to permanently shut the trains down – not just try to get them to run on time.
When the previous Bush administration released its fiscal 2006 budget proposal, it included a separate document listing specific spending cuts and other reforms. The idea was too little and too late, and it’s likely that the Bush administration included it as part of a feeble attempt to answer critics of the Republican spending binge.
Another government-subsidized solar energy company is headed to bankruptcy. The latest casualty is Flabeg Solar U.S. Corp, a subsidiary of a German company. Flabeg’s Pittsburgh plant has been shuttered and its employees laid off.
When it comes to reporting on the Small Business Administration, it seems to me that most journalists simply assume that if a government agency exists to “help” small businesses then it must be good. So I was pleased to read a weekend piece from two investigative journalists with the Dayton Daily News that challenges the conventional wisdom on the SBA.
For this libertarian policy analyst, the annual release of the president’s budget proposal is like the day after your team loses the Super Bowl: everyone’s talking about it, but you’d rather curl up in bed with a fifth of Old Grand-Dad.
The President on Tuesday signed the continuing resolution that funds the government through September and (gasp) keeps the sequester cuts intact. Now that it appears sequestration isn’t going away (and yet the earth continues to spin merrily on its axis), the focus should be on how this small step might be extended.