A couple of weeks ago, David Boaz discussed the Old Testament story in which the people of Israel ask Samuel for a king to rule over them. God’s instructions to Samuel can be summed up as “tell them to be careful of what you wish for.” David brought up the passage in the context of civil liberties, but the story’s lesson also applies to economic liberties.
The White House’s misbegotten “Summer of Recovery” continued today with the release of another administration “analysis” that purportedly demonstrates the stimulus’s success in “transforming” the economy.
The president’s stimulus package contained an $8 billion downpayment on a national system of high-speed rail. The money came with no state matching requirements, which generated state applications totaling $102 billion. When Congress added a 20 percent state matching requirement to an additional $2.3 billion for high-speed rails grants in this year’s budget, state applications only totaled $8.5 billion.
The Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development held a high-profile conference this week on the “Future of Mortgage Finance.” The federal government is currently backing more than 90 percent of new mortgages through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration.
A New York Times article on Alaska’s love/hate relationship with the federal government underscores why weaning the states off their addiction to federal dollars would be difficult. A lot folks in Alaska (and across the country) say they want smaller government, but aren’t as enthusiastic when asked about giving up their own federal goodies.
The release of updated industry data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which show that the average federal employee continues to earn significantly more in compensation than the average private sector employee, has Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry on the defensive.
A new Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general report finds that the agency initially required, and then “encouraged,” recipients of HUD stimulus funds to post signs indentifying projects as being funded by the Recovery Act. In other words, HUD pushed recipients to engage in political advertising, and to do it with taxpayer funds.