NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Disaster Leads to Line-ups for Federal Money

November 2, 2001

Some commentators are criticizing special interests and their lobbyists for viewing the tragic events of Sept. 11 as opportunities for grabbing federal money. In a time of national disaster and war, the critics say, the government should be particularly alert against waste and husband its resources for military and national security objectives.

The list of federal supplicants includes: the airlines, airports, Amtrak and private railroads, bus companies, travel agents, insurance companies, hoteliers and restaurants and their employees, rental car firms, steelmakers, farmers and the government employees' union.

This comes on top of already bloated spending levels.

  • The National Taxpayers Union reports that federal outlays have raced upward of 22.5 percent since 1995 -- about twice the rate of inflation.
  • Citizens Against Government Waste reports $12.1 billion worth of wasteful spending in 1999, $17.7 billion in 2000 and $18.5 billion this year.
  • Projects in the waste category include a national memorial for Dr. Seuss, the Oregon Groundfish Outreach Program and $1.5 million to help the city of Birmingham, Alabama, pay to repair its statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
  • Economic researcher Stephen Slivinski estimates that corporate welfare will run about $87 billion this year -- up by almost a third since 1997.

Source: Adapted from Doug Bandow, "Saluting for Pork," Washington Times, November 2, 2001.


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