Tad DeHaven

Alaska's Dependency on DC

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.

More on Federal vs. Private Pay

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.

Food Stamps Cut?

Prior to last week’s passage of another $26 billion in bailout money for state and local governments, I noted that the legislation wasn’t really offset: 

Government Sugar Planners "Confounded"

The federal government operates a complex system of supply controls, price supports, and trade restrictions on sugar. The system protects the incomes of sugar producers by guaranteeing a minimum price for sugar in the domestic market. As a result, U.S. consumers have been paying more than twice the world market price for sugar.

Political Activities at HUD

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. 

"Mountain of Debt"

The White House Office of Management and Budget homepage currently features the following quote from the president:

Federal Government is Lucrative "Industry"

The Bureau of Economic Analysis latest release of industry compensation levels shows that the average federal worker ranks up at the top along with employees in the finance and energy industries. 

Federal Employees Continue to Prosper

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. This state of affairs is a thumb in the eye of the private sector, which continues to struggle with high unemployment. Many private sector employees have been forced to take pay and benefit cuts while continuing to fund generous federal employee compensation with their taxes. 

Another Government Bailout

The House is scheduled to pass another $26 billion bailout for state and local governments on Tuesday. The legislation provides another $10 billion for education and $16 billion to extend the increased share of Medicaid being paid for by the federal government since passage of the stimulus.

Convoluted Highway Funding

A common theme with federal programs that fund state and local activities is that the distribution formulas are highly complex and politically-driven. The result is that policymakers at the federal and state level are constantly jockeying for more money, while the general public remains largely ignorant as to where the money comes from and how it’s spent.


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