Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Nature of Bailoutistan

One of the key notions of conservative thought is that people respond to incentives, and change their behavior in many cases for further benefit.

When Uncle Sam plunks down a big pile of the taxpayer’s money, like say, $700 billion for Wall Street, and another $700 billion to a trillion for “Stimulus”, and yells “come and get it”, well, people will come and get it.

A couple of quick examples:

Edwardsville, AL, a town of 194, wants $375 million for museums, scenic railroads, vineyards, and solar panels. That’s close to $2 million per person.

Who said hicks from Alabama lack initiative? They have enough gumption and presumption to want to go through your wallet.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York also has his hand outstretched, with over $1.6 billion dollars of toys on his wish list. A billion dollars for 20 new schools? Why, you could almost build the Yankees a new stadium for that! Oh wait*….

For $226 million, you should be able to do more than fix up the Brooklyn Bridge; you ought to be able to replace it in sterling silver, and have money left over to encrust it with rubies when you’re done.

$236 million for high speed internet access in 2,000 classrooms. Apparently, our kids will never learn to use Facebook or MySpace without intensive public instruction. There’s considerably more value to be had in driver’s ed and shop classes than wiring classrooms for the web.

We've already noted $50 million for the Vegas Mob Museum. This one has a chance – oppose it, and some guy named Vinnie takes you for a long, one way, drive in the desert.

Of course, there’s always the porn bailout, but I have some doubts about this being on the up & up, so to speak. Still, if money is being thrown around, don’t be surprised if people come to get it.

More on this later, I’ve just gotten my hands on a copy of the United States Conference of Mayors Official Request to Waste the Taxpayer’s Money

*Theoretically, the City is only providing about $220 million of the $1.3 billion price tag.