Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Good Programs After Bad

Billions in Bloat Uncovered in Beltway (WSJ-sub req):

The GAO examined numerous federal agencies, including the departments of defense, agriculture and housing and urban development, and pointed to instances where different arms of the government should be coordinating or consolidating efforts to save taxpayers' money.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Federal programs for teacher quality, job training, and understanding finances: how are all these thing working out for America anyway? We obviously haven't invested enough in these areas yet. Maybe if we just had EIGHTY-THREE programs to improve teacher quality...

And remember any suggestion that any of these programs be trimmed back or even eliminated will be described as "draconian cuts" that will destroy the children, the poor, women, the middle class, minorities, unions and kill puppies.

It said government agencies have purchased numerous vehicles that run on alternative fuels only to find many gas stations don't sell alternative fuels.

It that wasn't so sad it would be funny. One imagines a couple of govrenment managers looking out the window and proudly beaming at a parking lot full of the new fleet of bright shiny alternative fuel vehicles. Then one asks, "So where are we going to fuel these things up again?" D'oh!

On teacher quality, the report identified 82 programs that often have similar descriptions and goals and are spread across 10 federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Nine of these programs are linked to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Fifty-three of the programs are relatively small, receiving $50 million or less, "and many have their own separate administrative processes."

Whew. That's a relief. For a moment, I thought we had some real problems here with too many teacher quality programs. Now, we learn that fifty-three of them are "relatively small," which in government terms means somewhere south of FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS. The Department of Education has more money than that floating around in its couch cushions.