Thursday, August 17, 2006

Coyote Blog: Anatomy of an Earmark

Coyote Blog uses the Sunlight Foundation's pork-busting analysis and looks at pork in the Phoenix area:
...If I were a technocrat, I would argue that Congress already funds an ENORMOUS beauracracy to route federal money to theoretically the most productive spots. I mean, that's the whole technocratic argument for all this government spending, isn't it? That the government run by experts in the field can top-down allocate resources better than some bottom up market process?

Ideally, in any budgeting process, you look at your goals for a pool of money - say to cure breast cancer or to provide worker retraining, and you rank projects and allocations against this goal. I believe this to be an impossible task for a variety of reasons, some of which are described here. But even if you buy into this theory of technocratic fascism, you STILL have to be appalled by these earmarks. Because each and every one are an override of any kind of prioritization and thoughtfullness that might exist in the budgeting process.

Take #9 [$ 100,000 -- Arizona Dental Foundation to provide dental services to low-income residents of Arizona]. So the government has a goal of providing dental services to low-income people. Fine. Then shouldn't it take its dental services budget and allocate it on the best cost per patient served basis? Does the Arizona Dental Foundation fit into this picture? I bet no one in Congress knows. In fact, I bet it DOESN'T fit this efficient allocation of funds criteria, because otherwise someone in Congress wouldn't have overrrided the funding process to push $100,000 their way in an earmark. And even if this is a non-profit, shouldn't this kind of thing be bid on -- say ask for proposals of who can do the most with $100,000?...
Related: How cool is that? Exposing Earmarks!


Blogger BizzyBlog said...

I wonder what Coyote knows or wants to pursue re Western Cotton?

August 18, 2006 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coyote Blog did make a reference to the investigative posts:

More Arizona Cotton Subsidies

August 18, 2006 at 8:04 PM  

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