If you look at the bill that passed the ways and means committee yesterday, for every dollar spent to help small businesses, four dollars is being spent to help upkeep the grass on the lawns of Washington. Again, what does that have to do with a stimulus bill?
Of course. Any time a spending bill goes through Congress, the “government is the problem” crowd sends it’s staffers forth to find “fraud, waste, and abuse”. This time they’ve found massive wasteful spending on “the lawns of Washington”.
It turns out that this particular claim is bogus. The lawns of Washington actually need a lot of work, and of course the money isn’t being spent just on lawns. But my point would be—what if it was a total waste? What if the $200 million Cantor is talking about actually was flushed down the toilet?
That would be bad, but in the scheme of things—we are talking about an item in a $700 billion spending bill—it’s nothing. Further, let’s take a look at the options. Every time anti-government types find wasteful government spending the implication is that private spending would never—-I repeat NEVER–engage in waste! It’s simply a given that private enterprise is frugal and efficient.
So how exactly did it come to pass that the financial sector—private businesses whose job it is to allocate and supervise the allocation of capital—recently allocated hundred of billions of dollars into a grossly inflated housing market?
We’re not talking about an over-watered lawn here. We are talking about a massive mis-allocation of resources that would have embarassed a Soviet central planner. Yet the game-of-the-day continues to be poring over government spending projects in search of “waste”, no matter how immaterial. Help me.