November 10, 2017 - Government Waste Erodes Our Freedoms, Part I: Amtrak and Food Photography
Every time we pay our taxes we sacrifice a little of our liberty to the federal government. When those taxpayer dollars are then blatantly wasted, the loss of freedom really stings.
In this post, the first part of a periodic Freedom Friday series, we will highlight a couple of especially egregious examples of government spending run amok.
High-Dollar Waste: $1.495 Billion for Amtrak
Many Arizonans and residents of dozens of other states have never taken a ride on an Amtrak train. Yet, Congress once again appropriated an extraordinary sum of money this year to prop up a rail service that almost exclusively serves Americans living on the East and West Coasts. I strongly opposed this effort; unfortunately, to no avail. This subsidization would be bad enough if Amtrak ran smoothly, but of course that isn’t the case: its trains are habitually late and ridership numbers are stagnant. No wonder Amtrak can’t cover its costs. The only sensible next step would be to completely defund Amtrak and let the private sector provide intercity rail transit if there is even enough of a market to justify this service in the first place.
Ridiculous Waste: $174,792 to Take Pictures of Food
Indiana’s Purdue University received $174,792 from the National Science Foundation for an “academic study” that involves taking pictures of food before obese individuals consume it. According to the lead researcher, the findings of this study could help individuals who are severely overweight to more fully recognize their “dietary environment” so that they make better choices in the future (as if the nutritional value of an actual slice of greasy pizza wasn’t obvious enough already). Sadly, I’m not really surprised by the topic of this research. After all, academics waste government money on silly projects all time. What does shock me is the sheer cost of this grant: I can take hundreds of high-quality digital photos on my smart phone without paying a cent.