Monday, December 31, 2007

Somebody please provide an economic justification for these different government spending items

Some of the spending in the new Federal budget that congress enacted. Where is the federal issue in these spending proposals? I don't see the externality issue for the Lobster Institute. Where is the national concern with managing beavers in North Carolina or rats in Arkansas? As far as bees go, why isn't it a simply question of supply and demand (see Freedomnomics for a discussion about how the market solves free-riding problems in this problem)?

Next time you go out for seafood, remember the $188,000 lawmakers sent to the Lobster Institute in Orono, Maine. Then there was the tidy sum to the pest-control industry in the form of $2.5 million to fight grasshoppers and Mormon crickets in Nevada and Utah; $223,000 to manage beavers in Raleigh, N.C.; $3.7 million to combat termites in New Orleans; $244,000 to conduct bee research in Weslaco, Texas.

Congress, which spends millions battling roaches and rodents in the Capitol, has a thing about bugs. It can't spend enough on them: $353,000 to battle the Asian long-horned beetle in Illinois; $234,000 to help an American laboratory in Montpellier, France fight the olive fruit fly; $113,000 to go after rodents in Arkansas.

This is just a sampling of the 11,331 "earmarks" (a 426 percent increase over last year) that this Congress snuck into its annual appropriations bills and accompanying reports for fiscal year 2008 -- nearly 10,000 of them in the omnibus bill alone. Want more?

-- $700,000 for a bike trail in Minnesota.

-- $200,000 for a post office museum in downtown Las Vegas.

-- $1 million for a river walk in Massachusetts.

-- $150,000 for the Louis Armstrong Museum in Queens, N.Y.

-- $200,000 for the Hunting and Fishing Museum in Pennsylvania.

-- $113,000 for rodent control in Alaska.

-- $4 million for a Beverly Hills veterans' park.

-- $37,000 for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

-- $8.8 million for the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium at Eastern Kentucky University.

-- $2.4 million for renovations in the Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, W.Va.

-- $250,000 for construction work at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash.

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