It looks like farm subsidy reform is unlikely for another few years. Senator Blanche Lincoln has been selected the new head of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Dow Jones notes: “Lincoln is a two-term moderate Democrat who described herself Wednesday as a ‘farmer’s daughter.’”
For the past couple of years the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been doing its best to re-inflate the housing bubble.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which is more infuriating for taxpayers: illegal fraud in a government program, or legal abuse of that program. The State of New York recently took $140 million in federal “stimulus” money and handed it out with no strings attached to people on welfare for the ostensible purpose of back-to-school needs.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released its annual data on compensation levels by industry. The data show that the pay advantage enjoyed by federal civilian workers over private-sector workers continues to expand.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal took a lengthy look (subscription required) at the deteriorating financial situation of domestic biofuel producers. According to the Journal:
Over the weekend, CNN.com reported on a cringe-inducing story out of the Department of Veterans Affairs:
“While hundreds of thousands of disability claims lay backlogged at the Department of Veterans Affairs, thousands of technology employees at the department received $24 million in bonuses, a new report says.”
Summarizing a new Government Accountability Office study, the Washington Post reports that “the cost of building and operating the controversial U.S. ballistic missile sites in Europe could substantially exceed the original estimate of more than $4 billion.”
Another day, another story on financial troubles at the federal government’s mail monopolist. We don’t expect the government to make our blue jeans, transport fruits and veggies from the farm to the market, build computers and IPods, or manage the manufacturing of automobiles, so why must it continue to deliver first-class mail?
Federal unions, government officials, and the Washington Post’s “Federal Diary” column frequently suggest that federal civilian workers are underpaid. They suffer from a large “pay gap” compared to private sector workers, or so the story goes.
But in the Post’s “Jobs” section yesterday, human resources specialist Lily Garcia argues that “Uncle Sam Is a Boss You Can Rely On.” For job seekers, Garcia points to the many advantages of federal work:
My old boss, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), has a report out this morning that identifies 100 “questionable” projects funded by the federal “stimulus” package. I’m not going to mention particular examples here. I’ll simply say that I hope the theme that readers of the Coburn report come away with is that the federal government should not fund state and local activities. The numerous examples in the Coburn report provide concrete evidence of this truth, and I wish the report would have spent more time in the introduction fleshing it out. Fortunately, my colleague Chris Edwards wrote an excellent policy analysis on the problems with federal subsidies to state and local government. Thus, I would encourage those interested to read the Coburn and Edwards reports together.