Posts tagged ‘coburn’

Government Agencies Run For the Benefit of Their Employees

I have written before that the single best framework for explaining the actions of most government agencies is to assume they are run for the benefit of their employees.  This certainly seems to be the case at the FAA, which can't over 10+ years complete a modernization of its computer system or match free, private Internet tools for flight tracking, but it was able to very quickly publish a web application to promote the danger of the sequester.  Public service is not even on these guys radar screens, as they have shown themselves completely willing to screw the public in a game of chicken to get more funding back for their agency

But after Mr. Coburn published his letter on his website, FAA regional employees wrote to blow the whistle on their bosses. As one email put it, "the FAA management has stated in meetings that they need to make the furloughs as hard as possible for the public so that they understand how serious it is."

Strategies include encouraging union workers to take the same furlough day to increase congestion. "I am disgusted with everything that I see since the sequester took place," another FAA employee wrote. "Whether in HQ or at the field level it is clear that our management has no intention of managing anything. The only effort that I see is geared towards generating fear and demonstrating failure." Just so.

100 Worst Stimulus Projects

This should really get your blood boiling, from Tom Coburn's office (pdf).  I am still perusing it, but two of my favorites already:

  • $1.445 million for an Oklahoma water project, where stimulus-required procurement and other rules subsequently increased the cost of the project by $1.94 million.  So the local folks lost a net of $500,000 by taking our money.  Serves the right.
  • $800,000 for a backup runway for the now famous airport to nowhere, also known as the John Murtha airport in Johnstown.  This is critical, because if they were to lose their current runway, all three flights a day and 20 daily passengers (I am not kidding) might have to find an alternative airport.  This brings the total airport subsidy to $15,411 per annual passenger.
  • A California skate park will get a $620,000 "facelift."  Plans to refurbish the skate park in Long Beach, California, had stalled for months as local funds put towards higher priority park projects. With $620,000 in federal stimulus funding available to upgrade the skate park, the city council decided to move forward. Daniel Johnson, a skater, said, "If most of us weren't skating right now, we'd be doing some bad stuff."  Because nothing says "gateway activity to adult productivity and preparation for the job market" like a skateboard park.