Cutting White House tours & sparing the waste
Right when America's school kids are looking forward to spring tours of the White House, the Obama administration canceled all public tours, blaming budget cuts and Republican pigheadedness.
Shutting down the tours was a quick way to teach the next generation of voters that even a tiny reduction in the rate of growth of government results in nothing but tears and regret.
The cost of the 37 uniformed officers who direct the White House tours is $10,571 a day, according to Brian Leary, a spokesman for the Secret Service. That's peanuts compared to how the feds blow hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars on an ever-expanding array of projects of little or no value.
In her recent Wall Street Journal column, “Jumping the Sequester: When the president canceled the White House tours, he revealed his claims as ludicrous,” Kimberley Strassel provided a sample of the feds' wasteful and lavish spending.
“We've learned that the White House employs three calligraphers, who cumulatively earn $277,000 a year,” reported Strassel. “The Environmental Protection Agency gave $141,000 to fund a Chinese study on swine manure. Part of a $325,000 National Science Foundation outlay went to building a robotic squirrel.”
Just these three expenditures could keep the White House tours up and running for more than two months.
Strassel goes on to highlight more spending examples: “The government gave a $3,700 grant to build a miniature street in West Virginia — out of Legos. It shelled out $500,000 to support specialty shampoo products for cats and dogs. A San Diego outfit got $10,000 for trolley dancing. The feds last year held 894 conferences that each cost more than $100,000 — $340 million altogether. But Mr. Obama is too broke to let American kids look around the White House.”
Just these four expenditures could keep the White House tours going for another 89 years.
There's also $27 million in taxpayers' money to pay for pottery classes in Morocco.
Moroccans have known how to make pottery since the Neolithic era, the cultural period of the Stone Age, without any government handouts.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn provided additional examples of the lack of prioritizing and common sense in federal spending.
In recent letters to the heads of federal agencies, Sen. Coburn showed why it's unnecessary, just a cheap political stunt, for the Obama administration to shut down White House tours, close airport control towers, toss public housing residents into the street, stop cancer research or furlough meat inspectors.
In a letter to Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of Defense, Coburn points to how “the Pentagon has joined the cooking show craze” by producing “a reality cooking show called Grill it Safe featuring two Grill Sergeants showing off their ‘delicious recipes' for outdoor cooking.”
A letter from Coburn to Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation, highlights the agency's spending for “the development of ‘Snooki,' a robot bird that impersonates a female sage grouse to examine the importance of courtship tactics of males,” plus spending to see how “shrimp running on a treadmill respond to alterations in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.”
How about a study to see how taxpayers feel about being on a treadmill to fund incompetence and corruption in government?
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur. His email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn State to announce new athletic director
- LaBar: John Cena leaving WWE for Hollywood?
- Washington Co. man arrested on child porn charges
- Steelers cut linebacker Kion Wilson, sign cornerback Toler
- Five questions facing Steelers entering training camp
- Kerry says no deal yet for 7-day truce in Gaza
- National city organization chooses Pittsburgh for 2016 gathering
- North Huntingdon woman charged with threatening to burn down officer’s house
- Motorcycle runs off road in Butler County, kills Shaler man
- Small plane goes down near Grove City
- Crash closes one lane of westbound I-376 in Beaver County