Not Positive Stories, but Stories of Debt

Everybody wants to get in the picture and to appear involved in such transfers of federal money to local communities:

The state’s political establishment turned out in force Friday to announce a $400,000 federal grant that will help lead to the cleaning and development of Rhode Island brownfields. They came to Meeting Street school, built with earlier state and federal assistance on nearly nine acres of one such formerly polluted site.

Let’s stipulate that recovering defunct industrial sites is worthwhile and might even justify some government involvement. One wonders, though, from where the money is coming. In the near view, the money is nothing but debt — $400,000 that the federal government will borrow and that the American people will have to pay back with interest. What uses will that money not be put to in order to create this photo op? It’s not inconceivable that this review of the state’s blight will come at the cost of further blight in the future.
Mark Steyn’s Saturday column resonates on this topic. Noting the dominance of McDonald’s in recent anemic job growth, the apparent ability of the Dept. of Education to execute search warrants, and the unaccountable incompetence of the TSA, Steyn writes:

The American Dream, 2011: You pay four bucks a gallon to commute between your McJob and your underwater housing to prop up a spendaholic, grabafeelic, paramilitarized bureaucracy-without-end bankrupting your future at the rate of a fifth of a billion dollars every hour.
In a sane world, Americans would be outraged at the government waste that confronts them everywhere you turn: The abolition of the federal Education Department and the TSA is the very least they should be demanding. Instead, our elites worry about sea levels.

The assembled politicians at the Meeting Street school presented their efforts as pointed toward job growth, and the school’s President and CEO, John Kelly, emphasized the point. That presentation is a little misleading, though. For one thing, Meeting Street already existed, just in a different location. Did a better location and facility result in higher revenue and more employment? Perhaps, but it’s not as recovering the brownfield created something that had not previously existed. Moreover, the facility is a tax exempt non-profit, which isn’t quite the same when it comes to economic activity and public revenue as a for-profit enterprise would be.
They might take longer than top-down government decrees, but at this point, the Rhode Island and American economies would probably do better to find other methods of economic development than borrowing money to renovate abandoned industrial land for use by non-profit organizations

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
12 years ago

Sad to say Justin but this is the vision of Hussein in the White House and the liberal beauracracy. Go fast into debt for Mother Gaia (witness the destruction of coal jobs in PA & WV last week, lack of drilling permits and $ gas,etc.). We humans are killing the planet you see. It’s only just that we get financially destroyed to right the wrong. Obama is here to fundamentally change America. If that warrants destroying the middle class and capitalism…so be it.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
12 years ago

These people are no different than drug addicts…unable to discern the damage these “feel good” highs actually create.

12 years ago

“unable to discern the damage these “feel good” highs actually create.”
I agree. I can’t tell you how many folks just don’t understand how making the state a horrible overall business climate in order to fund the General Assembly’s pet projects is a bad idea.
‘But look, it created 200 jobs!’ they say, with no regard for how much we had to outlay to create them, the cost of which may have caused 2,000 to migrate elsewhere.
Plenty of progressives think that RI’s size will make it an ideal place to test policy. I think it will undo us unless we have excellent management delivering better services or lower overall costs that make us more attractive than our neighbors.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.