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National Science Foundation Spends $251K Studying The Senate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is studying US tax payer attitudes toward the Senate using $251,000 from research budgets of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs!

Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) argues that the American people have a daily opportunity to determine their attitude toward the Senate, or the President for that matter, for “free”.

The “free” part I am not so sure about.  After all, the Senators are paid – by tax payers!!

And beyond that, Senators and others in government and academia get plenty of free data from the ever growing and ever present opinion polling industry.

Senator Coburn’s point was, of course, to remind Senators that not every dollar of federal spending is equally necessary or in the best interests of the American people.

Seems the Senate was sufficiently embarrassed.   They passed the senator’s amendment to HR 933 – the 2013 Continuing Resolution – on a voice vote!!!

The amendment’s language points to the difference between how the government and the private sector employ baseline budgeting as a planning and management tool.

  • In the private sector, such frivolous spending would result in an immediate reduction in the department’s budget.
  • And serious questions for the Department Head!
  • To the contrary, this amendment directs the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs  to spend the funds on other research priorities (national security or economic growth).
  • Assumes there is valuable research they’ve not been able to fund?

If experience had not taught us better, we might assume the public attitude study was only proposed to give appropriators something to cut?

But, alas, we do know better.

The questions are:

  • Why does Congress ALWAYS assume that government spending must grow?
  • Why do members of Congress behave like children on Xmas – enjoying only the newest spending and never going back to test the effectiveness of (and necessity to continue) previously approved spending?
  • Why doesn’t Congress “sunset” appropriations?

If you agree with Senator Coburn and that federal government spending must be more effectively managed and monitored, send him a personal Thank You note or forward this blog to him!

Photo Credit: National Science Foundation

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2021-02-01T16:38:51+00:00March 21st, 2013|Comments Off on National Science Foundation Spends $251K Studying The Senate

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