Sen. DeMint on the EDA

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Last week, I wrote about reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration, which is currently being debated on the Senate floor. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) wrote an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal that cites Cato’s work on the EDA.

DeMint correctly notes that the mistaken rationale behind the EDA’s creation during the Great Society is the same as the Obama administration’s $814 billion stimulus bill: government programs can solve economic problems. Instead, both have been massive wastes of taxpayer money.

After doing an able job of listing some of the EDA’s faults — and acknowledging that he was wrong to have supported the program in the past — DeMint concludes that members of Congress should be “actively finding ways to reduce spending” given the mounting debt problem. He’s absolutely right, although the EDA should be abolished even if the federal budget were in surplus.

Republicans in particular need to put more effort into targeting specific agencies and programs for termination instead of, say, just issuing constant press releases complaining about the Senate Democrats’ lack of a budget proposal. Note that the EDA reauthorization bill passed out of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on a voice vote. That means that all of the committee’s Republicans went along with it. See here for a list of the EPW committee’s members.