Before I get started, let me congratulate President Obama on his decision to not go forward with the Keystone Pipeline project (“Because we haven’t had time to study it,” Be sure to use whiney voice to read quote.) He has done yet another great service to the cause of racial equality by proving that numbskulls like Jimmy Carter who should never have been elected President come in all colors, flavors, and ethnic groups.
We start off with #45 today- actually, I’ll be hitting a subsidiary point of this one. The main story was the spending of nearly $700,000 in Nevada to spruce up ONE (count ‘em, one) highway exit with “striped” boulders and “Native” vegetation. This is, of course, bad enough; but Coburn goes on to mention that it came on the heels of a Lawsuit that Clark County had to settle on a $120 million road widening project. It seems that they rejected a bid $4.5 million LOWER than the one they took because “the contractor was not properly licensed” (read: non-union); the judge smelled horseshit and the county ended up paying an extra $5 mil to the non-union outfit for screwing them. Mr. GiaQuinta, Mr. Moses, can you see WHY most of your constituents want the Right-To-Work legislation to pass in Indiana? Can you see why we’re sick of union manipulation, corruption, and lies? Of course not, you have union dollars clouding your vision.
Martin Savings: outside of what could be saved by banning unions altogether, which I won’t go into here, the county could have saved $9.5 million dollars just by being honest and following the law instead of crawling into a union pocket. Why, you could’ve decorated 13 1/2 more exits with that!
#40 is another one of my beaten path, because this is one of those few times I’ll say, “See? Barney Frank is right!!!” The Congressional Committee on Wartime Contracting estimates that upwards of $4.4 billion was wasted on inefficient, corrupt, and inflated contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011 ALONE. I realize that many like minded conservatives such as myself decry the removing of the least dollar from the defense budget, but OMG you idiots, LOOK AT THIS!! I hear way too much about how defense cuts will “hurt our navy, hurt our reputation, hurt our vets”, etc. So cut the right spots and it will only hurt crooked contractors.
#36, which I had to throw in just because of the ridiculousness of it. $50,400 went to the Oregon Cheese Guild who are using some of it to develop the “Oregon Cheese Trail”, which you can see here. Just think, had the Donners just took the Oregon Cheese Trail, they wouldn’t have had to eat each other.
Finally, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t take a poke at our good friends at USAID. This one’ll crack you up. We start out with a $23 million, 3-yr project to aid Pakistan with its electrical grid failure by getting them to use less energy. The first year ended with these results: 15 industries targeted to develop energy conservation plans, 0 completed. 10 companies targeted to evaluate energy efficiency, 0 completed. 300 energy companies targeted to upgrade equipment, 0 did so. 4 energy distribution companies targeted to implement conservation strategies, none did so. 300 energy sector employees trained, 138 actually got the training. So one year and $2 million later, they “changed strategy”. Where have we heard that before?
The new strategy was to get farmers to ditch their old, inefficient energy pumps that USAID would pick up half the cost of. Their contractor told USAID that they would be able to provide the pumps for $500 per, but as the year drew on, the cost just for the pumps rose to “$1,000 to $4,000”. Thus it was that instead of paying $5.5 mil for 11,000 pumps at $500 per, they paid $10 million for 963 pumps at $8,500 per!
The IG’s report found that while USAID and the contractor blamed most of it on floods that wracked the nation last year, the real causes were mostly farmer indifference. Why didn’t the Pakistani farmers jump on the deal?
1- farmers wanted some bucks for the old pumps that they had to get rid of, and USAID failed to anticipate this.
2- the cost of new masonry and electrical also weren’t factored in, and most farmers flat couldn’t afford them.
3- pump manufacturers didn’t want to participate in a short-term program.
4- the regional energy utility was penciled in as a partner, but they declined to participate.
5- almost 8,000 farmers submitted “letters of interest” in the program. USAID, having not the example of Gunner Kiel to learn from, assumed “interest”=”participation”, assumed that all of these were going to participate, but only one out of eight actually did.
6-USAID was allowing one day for the required cement to dry. Probably not a good idea, since the concrete needed 28 days to cure.
7- and probably the most important, even with USAID paying half, farmers could get the pumps cheaper FROM CHINA.
The IG’s reports that the program be discontinued when it hits year #3 in March. Even if they did renew, USAID would have to re-budget for a more reasonable pump price, bump their contribution to 75 %, and kick in another 10% for the old pump.
Martin savings: Let ‘em buy from China. Require USAID to formulate a coherent plan before giving them ANY money. The current system is a lot like giving a 3 year old a Toys ‘R Us gift card and sending him in alone. Another way to save money wqould apparently be to stop training the unemployed and just send them to work at USAID, where an education (and common sense) isn’t exactly required. Or even expected.