The public is concerned that governments are providing excessively generous compensation to their workers. Attention has focused on the high salaries and benefits of federal civilian employees and the often lavish pensions paid to state and local workers.
While the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the federal agency responsible for most housing subsidies, the departments of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture also subsidize homeownership. In fact, despite the problems caused by federal policies to put people in homes with little skin in the game, the VA and USDA continue to facilitate zero-downpayment mortgages.
The New York Times took a look at people who voluntarily send money to Washington in order to help pay down the federal debt. Last year, the Bureau of the Public Debt received $3.1 million in such donations. Looking at the federal budget, I found a total of $241 million in “gifts and contributions” for fiscal year 2010.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the agricultural sector is recovering nicely while the rest of the private sector continues to struggle. The counter-cyclical nature of some farm subsidy programs means that the taxpayer bill for the year could be cut in half to only about $12 billion.
As I recently discussed, not only does the federal Head Start program have a fraud problem, it has patently failed in its mission to help children from low-income families succeed later in life.
A study from the American Institutes of Research finds that federal and state governments have wasted billions of dollars on subsidies for students who didn’t make it past their first year in college. The federal total for first-year college drop outs was $1.5 billion from 2003 to 2008.
If you believe in a higher power, then I’ve got evidence for you that God has a sense of humor. Last week, the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 workers, had to extend its elections for national officers because … wait for it … thousands of ballots got lost in the mail.
The New York Times offers an unintentionally hopeful story on Republican candidates running for governor who could become significant obstacles for the Obama administration’s high-speed rail agenda.
I blogged about how Canadian government spending cuts since the mid-1990s coincided with strong economic growth.
We’ve had huge federal deficit spending in recent years–$459 billion in FY2008, $1.4 trillion in FY2009, $1.5 trillion in FY2010, and now an estimated $1.4 trillion in FY2011. Despite all the spending, the economy is still sluggish, private investment remains in the tank, and the unemployment rate is stuck at near 10 percent.