Last Updated: 10:46 AM, February 19, 2010Think Americans are angry at Washington today? Just you wait.
Even as President Obama yesterday formed a panel of Washington graybeards to find ways to control the national debt, the Government Accountability Office was reporting in eye-popping detail on a $5 billion "stimulus" program to weatherize the homes of some 600,000 low-income families.
The point, purportedly, was to increase energy efficiency and create "green jobs" -- whatever they may be.
But GAO found that, as of Dec. 31 (nearly a year into the program), barely 9,000 homes had, in fact, been weatherized.
The problem? The bill contained, among other flaws, a mandate that everybody hired to do work on the homes be paid a "prevailing wage" -- which snarled the program in red tape for months as Energy Department bureaucrats came up with such a figure for every county in the nation.
How many "green jobs" could 9,000 houses have created?
Plenty -- for the aforementioned bureaucrats: ABC News reports that, despite the mere trickle of actual work going on, DOE had burned through a whopping $522 million for the program, or more than 10 percent of its stimulus pot.
Now, not to oversimplify things, but that works out to roughly $57,000 per weatherized home.
Meanwhile, a recent report by Texas Watchdog found that of the $3.7 million that state had spent through the program last year, $3.5 million -- or 95 percent -- went to administrative costs.
All in all, the scheme is functioning . . . about as you'd expect a government program would.
But while this kind of waste is annoying in good times, it's intolerable now -- and goes a long way toward explaining why Americans en masse have stopped believing their government has their best interests at heart.
This blog is © Janet Crain
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