Examples of Public Waste Projects

While I go back and forth on whether I believe Keynesian Economics works in to the extent that it is being employed by the current Administration (and the last one for that matter) I am positive about one thing about Keynesian Economics – when the public is footing the bill waste will be plentiful.

One of my favorite non-personal finance site is The Cato Institute.    They update it every couple days with editorials that were featured throughout the Country in major newspapers.  When I saw the title, “Just Another Government Pyramid” written by Jim Powell (originally appearing in The DC Examiner) I had to read the article.  Truth be told I thought it was going to talk about Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme.   However, I quickly figured out what the article was about,

Obama envisions a government-run “infrastructure bank” to overhaul America’s transportation networks. This sounds like the kind of grandiose project politicians love to brag about — the modern equivalent of pyramids. They cost a fortune, they look great, they increase the number of government employees but do little if anything for living standards.

Ah, we are talking about Government Wasteful Building Projects.  Mr. Powell provides some great examples of the waste that can incur.

Examples of Wasteful Government Building Projects

Javits Center Government Waste

During the stagflation of the 1970s, New York City’s economy tanked, and state development officials approved a new 675,000 square foot facility that became the Javits Convention Center.

The New York Times reported on “the shoddy work and high bills of politically connected consultants and contractors. Complicated by a bid-rigging scandal and structural problems, the project fell two years behind schedule and was $111 million over budget.”

Boston’s Wasteful Big Dig

In 1985, Boston’s “Big Dig” was estimated to cost $2.6 billion, and it was scheduled to be finished by 1998. Taxpayers around the country picked up most of the tab. The project, that re-routed eight-lane Interstate 93 through a 3.5-mile long tunnel in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, was years late.

The project ended up costing $14.6 billion, and interest on debt reportedly will push the total to $22 billion. According to the Boston Globe, the project improved downtown traffic flows and induced people to drive more. Unintended consequence: “Many motorists going to and from the suburbs at peak rush hours are spending more time stuck in traffic, not less.”

Wasteful Federal Government Spending

Obviously the Federal Government isn’t much better and Mr. Powell highlights multiple projects but here are 2 of my favorites:

How has government done with something more modest like a mail sorting facility? In the early 1990s, the U.S. Postal Service authorized spending $199.7 million for a new Main Post Office in Chicago.

Because of poor planning and other problems, the project eventually cost $332.9 million. The Postal Service subsequently acknowledged that despite all the money spent on the Main Post Office, Chicago suffers from the slowest mail delivery of any major U.S. city.

and

Or how about something really simple such as a visitor center? Members of Congress caught grandiose fever and approved a proposal for the Capitol Visitors Center. Initially budgeted at $71 million, this became a $621 million, 580,000 square foot shrine to spending – three-quarters the size of the U.S. Capitol itself. It opened in December 2008 and will appeal to everyone who enjoys what the Washington Post calls “slick pomposity.”

If government spending makes you sick OR you don’t believe it happens you should really check out the article in full.

14 Responses to Examples of Public Waste Projects

  1. It’s entirely natural that projects spent with other people’s money will be more wasteful when that money is guaranteed to be paid up whether the people want to or not. It’s not about whether it’s public or private; it’s all about that! That’s why “public-private partnerships” are not guaranteed to be less wasteful: They just end up justifying a way to pass on additional fees.

    I personally believe that we can do without 75%+ of taxes, and eventually 100% within 50 years or less. National defense etc… are hard problems, but there are so many areas where it’s so easy to see the waste and so easy to fix it.

    Here’s a couple more blogs you might enjoy reading:

    blog.mises.org (Economics)
    http://www.financialsense.com/ (Some economics with a focus on commodities)

    • Wow cool sites thanks for the heads up on them.

      Ever read The Fountain Head? There a part in it where the public-private partnership goes to SHIT.

      • It’s on my “to read” list :P
        I read Atlas Shrugged, but that tome was HUGE… I don’t agree with her “self made man” mythos or with some aspects of her morality, but I do think that she foresaw many of the problems with government largesse that we have today.

  2. Not surprised at all. In my line of work I am witness to millions of Government waste every. single. day. At first it really took a tole on me and I kept talking to people about it… Now, I’m just used to it… The U.S. government is the most wasteful entity I have every heard of…ever.

  3. Part of all this gov’t spending is to actually stimulate the economy and employee people.

    I’m hoping the city government can spend a couple million to beautify my neighborhood with new landscaping and trees!!

  4. Ahhhh! Can’t stand the wasteful government spending. How many billions have we spent in Iraq? I don’t know but I’m sure other kids who are unable to go to school would like to know.

  5. When people get to spend other people’s money without accountability, this will always happen! That is why I am so afraid of this government growing in size and power! At least these examples show that this happens at all levels. These types of “stimulus” plans never pan out, and are filled with unintended (or really just unpublicized) consequences!

    • The fact that Congressmen are so stupid that they don’t realize that there will be unintended consequences makes me want to cry. They passed the CARD act not thinking, “Hey banks aren’t just going to give up that income stream” lol

  6. Have you ever read “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt? I think you’d love it based on your post. There are a few sections in there that discuss the deluded thinking of many of these types of projects. While there is no doubt that the nation’s infrastructure is in need of major renovations, some of these projects fail to address the need but make for great sound bites.

  7. A matter that needs investigated
    On case#VA107160
    People Vs buddy lee George 
    Los Angeles superior court norwalk California division S
    Judge the Honorable Roger Ito
    Los Angeles county district attorney Kang. 
    A case that can be proved as unconstitutional due to the following
    1.) I was denied my due process rights. 
    2.) the district attorney had me charged with prison priors and strikes that I did not have and it was not until after the verdict did she admit her mistakes. 
    3.) I was denied to confront witnesses I supoened 5 officers and only one showed up. 
    4.) the only witness that showed up was detective hakala from Whittier police department he was the lead detective and expert witness. 
    5.) there was bias with the processing of evidence he used his own lab. 
    6.) he lied under oath by saying he removed the drugs before the pre search video because he had a dog. 
    7.) the evidence in the case had been destroyed before the trial
    Evidence was destroyed 5-29-09
    The verdict was read on 8-15-09
    8.) henry salcidos law firm that represented me right before the trial caused a conflict of interest by violating attorney client privilege by having a meeting with the city of la mirada without my permission nor knowledge were he discussed my case were he was convinced by the city saying I should take a deal under the condition I move out of la mirada when I get out of prison. 
    9.) Henry salcido also told me at one point he didn’t care If I was innocent or guilty I should take a deal. 
    10.) he also told me at one point he was best friends with steve Cooley and if I gave him $180.000 and sign over the deed to our home he could make the case disappear. 
    11.) their was two retired district attorneys that were working for Henry salcidos law firm that were also over familiar with sheriffs and narcotics department that were involved in my case. 
    12.) through the whole case the la mirada mayor and council members had law enforcement harassing me their was about 300 or more calls made to law enforcement with the intent to have me harassed 
    13.) I can also prove false imprisonment. 
    14.) I was charged with possession for sales when no drugs were ever found to be in my possessing neither was any money ever recovered and according to the detective he found $13 dollars worth of drugs in our home all together in separate bags and only one had been tested the second one was never tested. 
    15.) it was unconstitutional for detective hakala to target me when their was 5 occupants living in our home at the time. 
    16.) the search warrant he used to get in our home the day he supposedly found the drugs was stamped denied. 
    17.) the second search warrant had a type -o- error and the name on the search warrant was Walter Eugene Farris a guy that I don’t know and neither did any one els that lived in our home and he had never been in our home. 
    18.)The attorney that represented me during the trial had not been given enough to to familiarize her self with my case the judge refused to give her time to overlook the case.
    19.) after we picked the jurors one of the jurors was prejudice he said no matter what he would find me guilty because he hates drug dealers the judge still allowed juror # 19 to hang out with all the other jurors until he was replaced. 
    The following needs to be investigated
    1.) violation of due process rights
    2.) my state and federal rights were violated. 
    3.) false imprisonment
    4.) harassment 
    5.) negligent
    6.) malpractice
    7.) wrongful conviction
    8.) officer misconduct
    9.) judicial misconduct
    10.) cruel and unusual punishment. Email below evidence when the evidence had been destroyed a email from detective hakala to district attorney kang. 
    11.) the city of la mirada offered to buy our home at cost saying under the condition I couldn’t live in la mirada nor Whittier. 
    12.)la mirada law enforcement was raiding our home practically daily. 
    13.) before this case started detective jerry Reyes told me as he handed me his card with his hand writing on it that if I dident help him he would screw me.
    14.) detective hakala and district attorney kang kept inflicting lies on the jury. 
    15.) I was not on probation or parole when this case started. 
    16.) our car had also been impounded 3 to 4 times every time officers said just tell us were the drugs are we won’t impound the vehicle and every time I was honest by saying I don’t have any drugs they impounded it any way. 
    17.) detective hakala went through my confidential legal mail violating my constitutional rights instead of using normal mail he used a 42 u.s.c 1983 to identify me as living here during The trial mentioning a law suite involving Copley
    18.) during the proceedings of the case no one had any idea I studied law I even represented my self in the federal courts I studied criminal and civil for about five years including 42 u.s.c $1983″s torts writs civic codes ethics even the CCR title 15 rules and regulations. 
    19.) I’m hoping to resolve this with out filing in the federal courts I’m exhausting all remedies if the matter is not resolved then I’m given not much choice because I was wronged 
    Sorry but this is frustrating I just want this matter looked into. 
    20.) I can prove the following. 
    1.)defamation of character. 
    2.) false imprisonment. 
    3.) negligence. 
    4.) harassment. 
    5.) malpractice. 
    6.) wrongful conviction. 
    7.) constitutional violations with my civil rights. 
    8.) including $10.000 dollars of damage to our home. 
    9.)reckless disregard.  
    10.) coaxing
    11.) including due process rights involved in a criminal court proceeding involving corruption. 
    12.) the situation that escalated 
    Into this case was a incident involving a parole officer mr verimontes he worked for la mirada public safety and the Santa fe springs parole department in the year 2001
    He was contracted by both at the same time their was a incident involved with are daughters boy friend driving a vehicle in a irate speed going to autozone test driving a 1997 ford explorer some car was parked 3 ft out from the curb 
    And some kids were playing in the middle of the street they moved out of the street as he was driving up hill and swerved to miss the car when we got back a neighbor showed up cussing and yelling in a violent manner as I got out of the passenger side he was trying to provoke me I asked him to calm down he told me fuck you I said I have kids and theirs no need for this he stated bull I ignored him and went next door and eventually went to the store with our cousin next door not knowing while we were gone the neighbor had called the sheriffs by time I got home their was no law enforcement around but when I reported to parole I was giving him the heads up about possible call made to law enforcement with our address he asked did you have any police contact I stated no he said don’t worry about it then that nite shows up with law enforcement to arrest me for driving with out a license I was in jail double the normal time waiting for my bpt hearing mean while I hired a attorney for ADA issues he had no idea that the attorney representing me at board had investigated his wrong doing because he went to every neighbor showing first my whole criminal past then mug shots asking if they seen me driving the attorney caught him lying under oath at least 12 times the commissioner let me go home when I had got out mr verimontes told me pack up your shit your moving back to Sacramento in such a irate manner to were other people eventually had to get him he told me that if I appealed him he would get a petition with our neighbors so I reported to parole in Sacramento and while I was there I filed a 602 inmate appeal demanding It to be exhausted so I could file a 42 u.s.c $1983 I charged him with the following
    1.) racial profiling 
    2.) negligence
    3.) harassment 
    4.) deformation of character 
    5.) false imprisonment 
    6.) I filed to a copy of the bpt hearing tape only to find out it had been damaged 3 days after the hearing when it was not suppose to be damaged for 120 days were I was entitled to a copy of it only to be denied eventually the 602 complaint allowed me to come home after he was involuntarily moved from both jobs. 
    7.) the city mayor and council members had sheriffs going through any lengths to get me for anything just to send me to prison also to force me to move from la mirada. 
    8.) we had a 2002 ford explorer literally torn apart to the point it was not worth having the interior completely destroyed. 
    9.) our home was stalked by sheriffs to the point our kids moved out. 
    10.) their are witnesses to two sheriff deputies named Morris and tousey that work for the city of la mirada telling every drug addict that I am a kingpin and a drug dealer. 
    11.) we even called the sheriffs about some one driving a car into our garage door they showed no interest in the damage done to our home. 
    12.) the sheriffs also known our home had been broken into and vandalized on numerous occasions. 
    13.) Morris and tousey also were telling people say his name you go free Morris and tousey are Los Angeles county sheriffs. 
    THIS ALL ADDS UP WASTEFUL
    SPENDING

    Buddy George – VA107160From: joanne alberry
    View Contact To: LAURIE YTARTE —————–
    ————————————————————-
    — Laurie,here is the email from the Detective 
    telling the court that all the property was
    destroyed. Sorry about all of it. Feel free to mail
    me any payments you can at my office address
    4229 Main St Suite 4 Riverside CA 92501 I will
    let you know when I find an attorney who will
    take on a governemtn entity. good luck to you
    and Buddy,Joanne ———- Forwarded message
    ———-From: Date: Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 7:23
    AMSubject: Fw: Buddy George – VA107160To:
    joannealberry@gmail.com Hi Joanne, Per our
    conversation, here is the email from Detective
    Hakala confirming that the evidence was
    destroyed. I will request that our matter be taken
    off calendar today. Thanks. ———————-
    Forwarded by Miriam Kang/DAUsers/NLADA on
    09/25/2009 07:22 AM ————————— To:
    cc: Subject: RE: Buddy George – VA107160 I
    contacted our central property and the items
    seized in the Buddy George case (408-15814-
    0460-184) were dispoed on 05-29-09. Any other
    questions just let me know. Eric ———————
    ———————————————————–
    From: MKang@da.lacounty.gov
    [mailto:MKang@da.lacounty.gov]Sent: Thu
    9/24/2009 2:49 PMTo: Hakala, Eric J.Subject:
    Buddy George – VA107160 Hi Detective Hakala,
    Just as a reminder, please email me a letter
    confirming that the the property booked into
    evidence for this case has been disposed of and
    the date of disposal. Thanks so much!
    Sincerely,Miriam KangDeputy District
    AttorneyTel: 562-807-7211 

    • Buddy George,

      I am sorry to hear about your legal problems. However I don’t consider prosecution an example of public waste.

      If you believe you have a case, find an attorney. There are plenty of Attorneys willing to sue police departments for violations of basic rights.

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