Another Example of Unnecessary Government Spending

The recently-passed budget is projected to produce a record deficit of nearly $2 trillion in the next year alone, yet the leadership in Congress seems insistent on running up the debt even further on the backs of our children and grandchildren.

Today, for example, the House of Representatives passed the “21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act”.   According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, this bill is expected to spend around $40 billion over its authorized period.   While the larger goal of energy-efficiency is something to strive for, this piece of legislation is neither necessary nor fiscally responsible during the challenging times we currently face.

To put the size of this bill in perspective, the State of Minnesota’s entire budget spends less than this one bill.  This is simply unacceptable.  If the federal government wants to spend billions on our schools, that money would be better spent on meeting obligations it already has, such as special education funding.  Additionally, this bill further increases federal control over decisions made by local districts, specifically on building projects – which will undoubtedly shift the focus away from needed efforts like closing the achievement gaps across the country.

The bottom line is that Washington cannot continue to borrow and spend with no regard for the future.  At the end of the day, these decisions will simply result in more and more debt being passed on to our children and grandchildren, debt they will one day have to pay back –with interest.

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5 responses to “Another Example of Unnecessary Government Spending

  1. How do you propose we fix the terrible conditions at schools around the country when districts and states don’t have the money to do so? This is the perfect time to pass a bill like this: it invests in our children’s future by preparing them in school facilities that promote learning while creating thousands of jobs when the unemployment rate is astronomical. Furthermore, these jobs will be fixing schools in ways that promote the environment and lower the cost of utilities and repairs down the line.

    There are certainly areas where we can cut spending and let the private sector move in; however, education is not one of those areas.

    Erik, if you want my vote in 2010, you need to start making suggestions and proposing solutions instead of just opposing everything the Democrats do.

  2. Pete,

    $40 billion. Do you have any idea how much that is? Regardless, show me the return of that investment that will benefit citizens.

    Fix the schools by having local districts voting on if taxes should be raised for this benefit. Those who have a vested interest in the benefit will vote yes for the increased investment by paying increased taxes.

  3. On Oct. 14, 2008, you and I spoke face-to-face at the Humphrey Institute. I asked you to clarify what new amendments to the US Constitution you were actively supporting, as candidate for US Congress. You answered– stating your active, open support for the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Balanced Budget Amendment.

    Since then, I have repeatedly emailed you asking whether you still support the Balanced Budget Amendment–but you have not replied. Why?

    The Balanced Budget Amendment would make all federal borrowing unconstitutional. In addressing the ongoing economic crisis, you yourself have proposed solutions which would entail massive current-year borrowing. In other words, you support–and urge your congressional colleagues to support–legislation which you simultaneously believe ought to be unconstitutional.

    I find that odd; don’t you?

  4. Building schools is not the job of the federal gov’t. The more money Washington “sends to us” equals less money we have to spend out of our pockets in the states. We should be very concerned when the federal gov’t (a la No Child Left Behind) reaches down and touches individual schools and districts in this way. We are slowly but surely eliminating the need for school boards, mayors, superintendents, etc. I find those who vote down bonds and referenda in their local school districts interestingly hypocritical because those tax dollars would ensure that buildings are properly maintained or new buildings constructed when needed…but these same individuals are more than willing to take the money offered from Washington to do the exact same thing. I guess they don’t get the joke. Finally, to believe in any way that Washington can “create jobs” is to ignore the fact that in order to do so they are taking money out of yours, mine, and everyone’s pocket and create these “opportunities” at a far greater cost per job than would be considered reasonable in the private sector…in fact it would be breathtaking cast that we would not forgive in the private sector. At the end of the day, we must beware the bearer of gifts.

  5. I disagree, this is an acceptable thing to do. Energy efficiency and resource conservation projects have some of the highest IRRs in today’s economy. Payback can happen quickly, even at IRRs of 7-10%. The cost of energy will go up, now is the perfect time to revamp public buildings while all costs are low.

    This reminds me of when Bobby Jindal got on tv and griped about “wasteful govt spending on things like volcano monitoring” and then a few weeks later a volcano erupted, yet because the govt was monitoring it, people had warning to evacuate.

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