If you ever wanted a perfect example of the waste that’s inherent in Government, this is it.
From Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel Online:
The Social Development Commission’s $6.3 million weatherization program is running $1 million under budget, which means the agency might have to return the money to the state and lose $125,000 in administrative costs, finance director Bill Koch said Thursday.
To try to keep from accumulating a surplus, Koch asked the commission’s human resources committee to consider an incentive program for the weatherization staff to try to increase production and get projects in the pipeline sooner so that more units can be completed by June when the grant year ends.
First of all, you have an agency that’s **gasp** running under budget. In the private sector, this would be what we call a “positive”. But not in Big Government world, no sir.
Nope, if the SDC (Social Development Commission) can’t figure out a way to spend all the grant money, rather than being congratulated or even getting a bonus for efficiency, they’d have to return $125,000 of their stipend/fee (aka – “administrative costs”).
You read that right. They HAVE to spend the extra million dollars budgeted…and are considering paying employees bonuses to make sure it all goes out the door. Such reckless squandering reads like a twisted version of ‘Brewster’s Millions’, and just like that book’s protagonist, the only thing Government has ever learned about money is how to spend it.
It’s obvious that the SDC certainly took that lesson to heart years ago:
Koch said that in previous years there were incentives offered in the program. Workers who do the energy audits to prepare the projects to go to contractors would work at night and on weekends to try to reach more qualified homeowners for weatherization, said Human Resources Director Donna Kaczmarek.
If the number of completed units exceeded their goals, workers would be paid incentives, she said.
In my mind, I can almost hear the voices of the Agency administrators as they desperately exhort their employees: “Spend! It’s just tax dollars, so who cares? Spend it all; NOW! We can’t get any more money until we spend what we have, so spend it faster! Here, we’ll even give you a bonus if you just spend the entire wad of taxpayer cash!!!!!”
Hey, SDC — here’s a tip: if you’re havin’ a hard time finding homes that actually need to be weatherized (the article mentions only 50% of homes which are coaxed into applying actually qualify), maybe that means the community doesn’t need your darn program. Ever think of that? Maybe, …just maybe,….we could all conduct just ONE aspect of our lives without you guys buttin’ in and trying to help us…by spending more of our own dough.
Remember the phrase (shamelessly stolen from Mark Steyn): the “inexorable ratchet of Government“? It basically means that Government always grows bigger, and since it doesn’t actually create the money it spends, it is inherently a poor steward of it.
Well, here is that exact lesson being acted out in front of us, in all of its gluttonous glory.
Normally I could end this post right here, but there’s an additional example that’s just as important. It comes at the very end of the article, as if an afterthought:
The committee also agreed to recommend to the full board that the SDC employee tuition reimbursement policy be revised to limit it to six credits or $5,000 per person for one year, whichever is less. The agency’s policy has permitted an employee to take up to 12 credits a year with tuition capped at $1,200 a credit.
“This is very lucrative,” said McHenry, adding that most businesses and other employers don’t provide reimbursements that high.
Sullivan questioned whether an anti-poverty agency should provide any tuition credits, saying agency dollars should be spent to help the poor.
His motion to eliminate tuition reimbursement failed.
By their own admission, such a ridiculously generous reimbursement level is out of step with the norm. Only by working at an ‘anti-poverty’ agency can you get paid $14,400/year to go to school. Is anyone surprised the motion to eliminate this failed immediately?
When you’re spending someone else’s money, it’s awfully easy to be generous.
Like the saying goes, “if you’re not outraged, you’re simply not paying attention…”
It’s inevitable: the Fiscal Cliff is coming, yet in many ways we went over some time ago. And just like any fall, it’s the sudden stop at the end that’s gonna cause the real damage.
At least now you know who pushed us over the edge in the first place.