Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pork factory

From the latest issue of City Journal:
In its new budget, the Bush administration is proposing to eliminate one of the last and least effective vestiges of the War on Poverty: aid to cities doled out in the form of community-development block grants. The president has proposed slashing funding for this $5 billion-a-year boondoggle, which allows local officials virtually a free hand in spending federal money in their cities. Bush would fold what remains of the block-grant program into other, more tightly focused and controlled grant schemes.

The end cannot come soon enough. Over the last 30 years, the block-grant program has expended some $100 billion in thousands of communities, with little to show for the effort. Local officials squandered the billions by financing unworkable projects that often went bust, investing in new businesses that couldn’t survive in depressed neighborhoods, and funding social programs with little idea of how they might actually strengthen their communities. A paradigmatic example of government ineffectiveness, this tempting pot of money gradually evolved into nothing more than a funder of local patronage and congressional pork spending.
Read the rest - it's quality muckraking. I'd give the program 2-to-1 odds of surviving; pork has bipartisan appeal.

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