The title is somewhat misleading. You may, instead, upchuck breakfast after reading this missive.
[Sources: The Trump Budget, by John Stossel; $2 Million Bathroom, by John Stossel; From $250 Million to $6.5 Billion: The Bay Bridge Cost Overrun, by Eric Jaffe; 10 years later, did the Big Dig deliver? By Anthony Flint]
Let’s start with the Budget. The Democrats decried President Trump’s budget outline saying his cuts were “terrible.” Of course, the New York Times chimed in with “Promises Little but Pain!” And, it goes without saying that Pravda on the Potomac (otherwise known as the Washington Post) said that it was “Harsh and shortsighted.”
So, the President proposed his budget outline. Congress went on to pass a “budget” and Mr. Trump signed it. Oh, THE PAIN… the HARSHNESS! It was TERRIBLE! Have you heard about the “pain?”
Of course not. Why is that, ask you? Because, answer I, here is what Congress did:
- The President asked for a $4.7 billion dollar cut to the Agriculture Department, but instead Congress increased the department’s appropriation by $12.8 billion.
- The President asked for a $15 billion dollar cut to Health and Human Services, but instead Congress gave them an extra $2.8 billion.
- The President asked for a $6.2 billion dollar cut to Housing and Urban Development. Did he get it? No! Congress gave HUD a $500 million increase.
- Etc, etc.
Milton Friedman didn’t even want an Agriculture Department or Department of Housing and Urban Development:
Let’s turn our attention to State government fiscal fiascos. Let’s begin where I live – a bastion of Democrat governance – the Bay Area. The new Bay Bridge cost $6.5 billion to build. The original estimate was $250 million. However, when it went to the ballot box in 1996, the California Department of Transportation announced the state would spend seven years and just over $1 billion to replace the eastern span which was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake (1989). The “scheduled” completion was 2003. It wasn’t opened until late 2013. After the citizens voted to cough up the $1 billion, then it was up to the legislature to approve any “cost overrun.” Quelle surprise!
It is even more appalling when one chronicles the increases:
- $250 billion – 1995
- $1 billion – 1996
- $1.3 billion – 1997
- $2.6 billion – 2001
- $5.5 billion – 2005
- $6.5 billion – 2012
But the Big Dig in that eastern bastion of Democrat rule made the Bay Bridge look like peanuts. The “Big Dig” is the most expensive highway in US history. It is the Central Artery and Tunnel project through Boston. The “absolute” cost is difficult to know because it took so long the value of the dollar changed multiple times. Its “cost” was $14.6 billion. The original “estimate” was $2.6 billion.
Oh well, politicians think we’re stupid. Perhaps they are right! We always say “Throw the bums out!” The “bums” still seem to be in charge.