The University of California (Irvine) was given $3MM for students to play video games. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said they would learn from the kids playing games in a virtual world to see if organizations can collaborate more effectively.
The University of California (Santa Cruz) was given $615,000 to digitize photos, concert tickets, t-shirts, etc., for Grateful Dead concerts.
A professor at Stanford University was given $239,000 to study how Americans find love on the internet. So far one of his greatest findings was that the internet is a safer and more discreet way of finding same-sex partners.
The U.S. Department of Veteran affairs spent $175MM on buildings that aren’t being used including a pink octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio. This particular one really disgusts me because of how many veterans are struggling financially, physically, and mentally. That’s where this money should’ve gone.
What upsets me most about government waste is the government intentionally distracts us as to the root of our problems (basically pointing their fingers at large companies, the wealthy, etc.) while they’re the ones who are mostly to blame. Keep in mind the waste spending I shared with you is only the tip of the iceberg. It would’ve taken me at least a year to dig everything up.
The stimulus package ($825B) included a variety of pork including:
$125B towards education but only $13.9B actually made it to the classrooms.
$140B was supposed to go towards infrastructure (i.e. bridges, highways, etc.) but only $30B made it there. I tried to track down the other $110B but I couldn’t do it.
$8B to help build a high-speed rail system from Disney Land in California to Las Vegas, NV. Congressman Harry Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Peloski tacked it on to the Stimulus Bill.
$2B for childcare subsidies. This is another way of sliding money into welfare without posting it on welfare’s books.
$600MM for new government cars.
$200MM went to Filipinos who served in WW2; apparently we still owed them for their service. If we owed them money then fine but it certainly shouldn’t have been part of the Stimulus Bill.
$50MM for the National Endowment of the Arts. The Arts are constantly getting pork. I don’t know about you, but I doubt if most of us visit art museums or attend Opera’s.
It was too easy for politicians to say that putting money into anything stimulates the economy so it created a huge area of grey for them to work with. The Wall Street Journal had an article that stated their research showed that only 12% of the $825B actually met economic stimulus standards. They didn’t think that anything that was project oriented was sustained economic stimulus because once a project was over people would lose their jobs.
Taking advantage of stimulus dollars to earmark pork barrel spending was expressed well by what White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said during the development of the stimulus package: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by this is that it is a good opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” I find this disgusting and enlightening as to how politicians think.
In most cases the pork line items in the bills aren’t for multi-million dollar spends; the problem is there are thousands upon thousands of earmarks. Let’s ask ourselves why might this be? It seems like these politicians could secure more votes if they spread the pork around. Keep in mind these earmarks aren’t debated they’re instead inserted into legislation. Democrats and Republicans said they would stop the pork barrel spending so why haven’t they done it? I think we know the answer to this one.