Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Too often that sums up the career politicians who run the federal government.
A couple examples: Energy Secretary Bill Richardson was considered a potential Al Gore pick for Vice President. But the Department of Energy’s problems at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab, with laughable, though frightening breaches in security, shunted Richardson out of the picture.
On a Sunday TV show, Richardson defended himself by saying he had actually increased the Los Alamos security budget. He threw money at the problem. Now Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is on the hot seat for federal policies that may have fueled the wild fires ravaging Montana. The Montana governor argued mistakes made by Glickman’s department have caused very serious problems for the people there.
Glickman’s response? That he had spent more money than his predecessors on fire protection programs. This is the Washington trap. It’s easy for politicians to throw money at problems because it’s not their money. And part of the problem is that they spend so much money they lose perspective. A million dollars becomes a very small sum.
Soon politicians get used to spending money and taking credit. Why follow-up? Why see what works or doesn’t work? Career politicians have neither the humility nor the risk-taking spirit to test and review their miracles. They spent money on it. Don’t bother them about the results.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.