What Republicans Think Is “Wasteful” To Spend Money On

This is just a sampling of the kind of projects Republicans believe to be a waste of money:

  • A near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Bush administration defunded last year because, according to them, it was “inefficient.”
  • A program at the Centers for Disease Control to develop treatment and prevention strategies for sexually transmitted diseases. And the buildings and property belonging to the CDC.
  • Building and repairing the physical plant of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
  • Rural waste disposal programs
  • Improving the Washington, D.C., sewer system.
  • The Smithsonian Museum.
  • The headquarters of the Public Health Service.
  • State and local fire stations.
  • Summer job programs for young people.
  • The 2010 Census.
  • Flood reduction programs on the Mississippi River.
  • Making federal buildings “green.”
  • Reducing the hazard of lead-based paints.
  • Upgrading computer systems at the Farm Service Agency.

You know, there might be a planet somewhere in this galaxy or maybe another one where projects like the ones listed above could be rightfully considered wasteful, inefficient, and not worth funding. But it wouldn’t be our planet.

And what I wonder, additionally, is how any American can justify voting for a political party that believes  public health and fire fighting facilities, summer job programs, urban sewer systems and rural waste disposal systems, and programs to reduce health risks from lead-based paint are not worth funding.

5 Responses to “What Republicans Think Is “Wasteful” To Spend Money On”

  1. Byron says:

    The GOP is right. This is specifically supposed to be a stimulus bill, not a quick and dirty way to get any and every project funded that is “worth funding.” Those need to argued for and passed, or not, according to their merits in the usual way. Those merits are necessary but not sufficient to justify inclusion in the stimulus bill. The terms wasteful and inefficient are relative to the desired stimulus effects, when one project is compared with alternative projects that are also worth funding. If a project does not measure up in that way, it has no business in this bill.

  2. SeanH says:

    Totally agree with Byron. This bill is supposed to be about providing economic stimulus. Some of those seem to fit and probably should stay, particularly the summer jobs program. Others, while worthwhile projects, clearly will do nothing at all to stimulate the economy so they have no business being include in this bill. If they’re important projects congress can fund them through normal spending where they belong.

    By the nature of it pretty much every penny added this bill will be a direct increase to the national debt and consequently increase the US taxpayer’s burden to service that debt pretty much forever. That’s worthwhile if we’re talking about rescuing the country from a depression, but it’s completely irresponsible to be tacking on non-stimulus projects like that. After the last 8 years it’s a bit rich for the GOP to suddenly start worrying about the national debt, but getting the PHS headquarters spruced up now rather than later sure as hell isn’t worth raising the entire country’s taxes for the next century or so.

  3. Kathy says:

    The reasoning above is just astounding.When a person is in cardiac arrest, you don’t prescribe medication, diet, and exercise — you defibrillate.

    ALL government spending is stimulus. Every single project in that list will create jobs, which will stimulate spending, which will create more jobs.

    There is no other way to stimulate the economy in a crisis like this one apart from spending. Tax cuts are not going to do it.

    There’s also the point, which others have made, that every single one of those provisions that Republicans have objected to, when added together, come to less than 1% of the entire stimulus package. And that’s true. I still think we have to stand up to this insane notion on the right that it’s possible to do building repair and construction projects without hiring people. I mean, maybe Republicans think it’s done by twitching your nose like Samantha Stevens.

  4. SeanH says:

    ALL government spending is stimulus.

    Kathy, I agree, but not all government spending is equally stimulating and the whole point is providing short-term stimulus. If they’re going to spend it on projects that don’t lead directly to job creation or increased demand for goods we’d be better off taking the simple-minded GOP approach and just cutting taxes. For instance, that coal plant, improving the DC sewer system, and flood control projects seem like items that directly lead to job creation and increased demand for products. That’s a lot of stimulus for the buck and perfectly fine by me.

    I’m still kind of OK with things like the hybrid vehicles and upgrading computers. That increases demand for products, but I don’t see how it directly employs anyone new. The FSA already has IT employees. You still clearly have stimulus there, but not to the degree the first group has.

    Then there are things like the STD and paint research that don’t seem to clearly provide much at all in the way of stimulus. They’re better than not spending anything and seem like good goals, but it’s not like we’ve got a bunch of laid-off infectious disease researchers or low demand in the medical supply industry. I’m a huge science supporter and there may be something I don’t know about demand for goods or labor on these projects, but as far as short-term stimulus goes we’d almost certainly be better off spending it on a tax rebate than funding pure research.

    I haven’t been following this that closely and if the GOP is arguing for less stimulus spending rather than spending where it’s most effective then scratch most of what I said. I’m completely on board with the stimulus and think projects that fit in my first group are exactly what we need. Hugely accelerating Obama’s plan to modernize the nation’s medical records is a perfect example of what we should be doing and could provide short-term employment for anyone from general laborers to clerical workers to IT professionals. If I came off as against stimulus spending then that was poor communication on my part. I totally accept that times being what they are we need to trade that debt increase in the future for a jolt to the economy today. That said, when we’re essentially talking about raising our taxes forever to get that jolt congress has a huge responsibility to make sure we’re getting the best bang possible for every buck. Some of those projects seem to fit, but a few of those smell an awful lot to me like congress deciding while they have their hands in our pockets they may as well take a bit extra for pet projects even if there’s relatively little stimulus value.

  5. Kathy says:


    I can agree with most of the above. Thanks for clarifying.

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