My local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat offered a tasty headline yesterday, concerning goings-on up in Rochester, New Hampshire:
Rochester forges ahead with 'tremendous waste' of money: Uses federal funds to rehab houses, sell for far lessThe lead paragraph:
Despite a general consensus the city would be taking advantage of "a tremendous waste of federal government money," the City Council agreed Tuesday night to move forward with an application for the next round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding.The idea of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is to buy and renovate foreclosed and abandoned homes in troubled neighborhoods. Overall, it's authorized to shell out a cool $3.9 billion. But according to City Councilor David Walker:
"You're spending $500,000 [per house], and then you turn around and sell it for $120,000 or $140,000. That's unbelievably wasteful," he said.No fooling. But I encourage you to read the whole article; it's a nice little example of the dysfunctional incentives involved with such programs.
A Portsmouth "nonprofit" company will handle the application process
for Rochester. All they're asking is for 15% off the top of any
incoming Federal money.
The deputy mayor views it as a "very inefficient way to invest in the
Another councilor notes that their previous involvement with
NSP had "no results".
Still another councilor observes, well, what the hell: "If this is one
of the ways the federal government is sending back money, I don't think
it's beneficial for Rochester to turn it down and let it go someplace
points out that there is nothing to stop them
from abetting the Federal Government's foolish wastefulness:
"I'm against pork and I'm against earmarks. But if there's a
program and it's going to be earmarks, I want us to get our share of
Or: Pigs have no incentive to decline more slop at their trough.
Another councilor, after the vote: "I wouldn't want my family to live in
that neighborhood. Look what you have for neighbors up there
after you've rehabbed those homes. Who wants a beer bottle behind your
head every time you get out of your car?"
At least the Rochester folks are being for-a-politician "honest". If not admirable. Multiply this waste by hundreds and thousands of other localities throughout our fair land.