Mar 03 2010
The federal government’s conservative-minded (surprise!) budget aims merely to avoid spending more than last year on programs without any deep cuts to try to tame the deficit. There will be those who criticize this sleep-walking sort of economic policy for lack of courage or ideas. Then again, “stay the course” is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to an economy that outperformed almost every other developed nation last year. We could have done a worse — a lot worse.
A few examples of boondoggles our boring fiscal policy has managed to avoid spending on recently:
* Ninety-two upgraded T-72M1M main battle tanks for a bargain-basement price of four billion dollars. As Venezuela’s economy implodes under the rule of strongman Hugo Chavez and the people face food and power shortages, it’s nice to know that the Venezuelan people are safe from… who, again?
* Bailing out Greece for $6.5 billion. Whatever it takes to make sure sclerotic Greek unions and their olive-scented bureaucrats can keep raking in bloated salaries for serving the public with traditional incompetence. Oh, wait. Since we contribute to the IMF, taxpayers may be on the hook for this after all.
* Three gold medals for $120 million over four years. Russia may have spent more on their athletes than we did, but their return on investment was dismal. Better luck in Sochi, comrades.
* $1.5 billion for a Babel-sized skyscraper in Dubai — basically, in the middle of nowhere. It closed a month after it opened due to technical problems.
* $85 million for bomb detectors for Iraqi security forces. This sounds like an essential investment for a nation that routinely suffers mass casualties from terrorist attacks. That is, until you realize that you could get the same level of effectiveness at half the price by simply waving $42.5 million worth of stacks of cash at security checkpoints.
Of course we have our own share of stupid spending priorities. The millions spent on HRCs that seem to spend far too much time protecting such important values as the “human right” of not washing your hands before serving food to customers is just one example. That said, maybe we’re not so badly off in the big picture.
Screw You, Taxpayer!