Senator Tom Coburn has compiled a highly entertaining list of the 100 most wasteful stimulus projects. Titled “Summertime Blues,” the list shows how little the federal government values your tax dollars. It also reveals the vapidity of President Obama’s clueless assurance that “spending equals stimulus.” The only thing stimulated by these projects is the wallets of the people (frequently Democratic Party cronies) who made off with your money. Well, that’s unfair–maybe you shouldn’t feel too bad, since it’s actually your children’s money that will pay for these boondoggles.
Here are just a couple of my favorites; note that the entries are copiously footnoted:
“Dance Draw” – Interactive Dance Software Development (Charlotte, NC) – $762,372
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte received more than $750,000 in stimulus funds to help develop a computerized choreography program that its creators believe could lead to a YouTube-like “Dance Tube” online application.10 The grant says UNC-Charlotte will “define an evolving system that assists in the design and production of interactive dance performances with real-time audience interaction.”11
A device is attached to each dancer, which will be recorded on video,12 and their movements will be logged and analyzed. “This will allow choreographers to explore interactive dance without always having a full cast of dancers present,” the grant states.13 One day, dance performances may enjoy the popularity of YouTube hits like “double rainbow”14 or “dramatic-look prairie dog.”15
States the grant: “The system will be extended into a Web-based ‘Dance Tube’ application that will allow the public to engage in interactive dance choreography.”16
One catch: UNCC is taking a 44 percent cut–around $335,000–to cover “overhead.” That should pay a couple of deans’ salaries.
Abandoned Train Station Converted Into Museum (Glassboro, NJ) – $1.2 million
Taxpayers may not be happy to learn that they are paying for one broken down train station twice. The Glassboro train station was built in 1860 and closed in 1971.45 Unused for nearly 40 years, it now sits boarded up and riddled with graffiti. In 2002, the Borough of Glassboro, New Jersey received nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase the train station from Conrail. 46 At that time, officials hoped to incorporate the station into the regional NJ Transit system. But those plans fell through, and since then local officials have been looking for a way to fund renovations to put the building to some use.47
After eight years of failure and further deterioration of the building, the effort has been saved only by the availability of federal stimulus dollars.48 Local officials … are hoping to spend the more than $1 million for the project “interpreting local history in its proper setting and make it a museum, public meeting space and welcome center.”50
Here is the abandoned train station. Lots of luck with that:
I think that the Democrats actually do not understand that it is a bad thing to waste money. That wouldn’t be so bad, if they would settle for wasting their own.