Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 22 85_WOTD_wk_22

July 16, 2021 10:28 AM



Bloated White House Payroll Projected to Exceed $200M Over Biden’s Four Years | July 12, 2021


President Joe Biden has wasted no time filling out his White House staff, employing 567 people at a projected cost of $200 million over his four-year term.

That is compared to the Trump administration, which spent $164.3 million between 2017 and 2020, and the Obama administration spending $188.5 million between 2009 and 2012, both of which were adjusted for inflation.

The current White House’s payroll is the most expensive in America’s history – at nearly $50 million in annual cost. That is 190 more employees than Trump’s 377, and 80 more than Obama’s 487 at the same time in their respective presidencies.

The highest-paid Biden employee is Molly Groom, making $185,656 as policy advisor for immigration, a crisis issue for the administration. Followed closely behind is Elizabeth Hone, earning $183,164 as senior policy advisor for broadband.

Search the payroll at for specific employees, their titles and pay.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has 12 staffers — with five also serving the president in some capacity — while former First Lady Melania Trump had five staffers in her first year, 2017.

In 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obama was criticized for her bloated staff of 24assistants, advisors, aides, and social secretaries, while former First Lady Laura Bush had a staff of 18 in her first year.

While the White House payroll is a fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget, the president’s willingness to increase the staff could very well be a leading indicator of his commitment to expand the size, scope, and power of the federal government at large.


Studies Cost Taxpayers Up To $3 Million: Evicted Tenants Are More Likely to Have Unsafe Sex | July 13, 2021


The federal eviction moratorium ends July 31, while some states have their own bans extending beyond that day.

Four researchers from Yale University, one from Drexel University and a sixth from American University recently released a study that found that when a landlord forced tenants to move, the renters were exposed to higher risk of contracting HIV.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, collected data between 2017 and 2018 among 360 low-income people in New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is located.

It’s part of a several studies being done by the Justice, Housing and Health Study project at the Yale School of Public Health and funded with more than $3 million in grants. 

The researchers found that 77 out of the 360 participants reported a “landlord-related forced move” in the past two years, and that those moves “were associated with higher odds of unprotected sex, concurrent sex, selling sex for money or drugs, exchange of sex for a place to live, and an HIV sexual risk composite."

“We found robust associations between landlord-related forced moves and HIV sexual risk,” the researchers stated. “Findings suggest that the social and economic consequences of landlord-related forced moves may impact sexual vulnerability.”

Yale enlisted taxpayer help for these ‘studies’ even though the university has $31.2 billion endowment.


“Hamilton” Could Reap $50 Million in Pandemic Relief | July 14, 2021


The Broadway hit Hamilton applied for $50 million — and received $30 million so far — in Covid-19 aid, $10 million for each of its separate productions, according to a New York Times report.

The Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program gave pandemic relief to the culture sector and live-event businesses, making each eligible for $10 million, so each collected the top amount to help make up for lost revenue.

Hamilton was approved for $10 million each for the Broadway production and two touring productions and is waiting to hear about approval for the other two tours, The Times reported.

Lead producer Jeffrey Seller compared his show to Chrysler and GM getting federal bailouts decades ago.

Seller said neither he and the other show producers nor its investors would get any of the funds, and it will not be used as royalties for artists, including show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The money will be used to re-open the shuttered productions and to reimburse for pandemic-related expenses that the productions incurred, he said.

With individual tickets costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars, the show’s executives sure have a lot of gall asking taxpayers to bail them out.



A “Great Wall of China” Replica for Bedford, Indiana Cost Taxpayers $875,000 | July 15, 2021


Throwback Thursday! 

In the late 1970s, the city of Bedford, Indiana thought it had a golden idea to create a Limestone Tourist Park, complete with limestone replicas of the Great Wall of China and Pyramid of Giza to lure tourists to its small town of about 14,000.

Bedford, “the Limestone Capital of the World” because of its large limestone quarries, got the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to give it $200,000 (today $875,000, inflation adjusted) to build the Great Wall of China replica.

Some say the wall was to be 650 feet long, others say 800 feet long.

The town also received a $50,000 grant ($220,000 today, inflation adjusted) to build a one-tenth scale replica (95-foot tall) of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The two replicas were to be marketed as a combined Limestone Tourist Park on the edge of a limestone quarry.

But neither project received enough funding to be completed and they were left unfinished. The projects lay in ruins, with large chunks of limestone scattered among rusting trucks nine miles north of Bedford.

The Limestone Tourist Park turned into fodder for a Golden Fleece award in 1981 from then-Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who presented the tongue-in-cheek award to those wasting taxpayer money on foolish projects.


Retirement Package Over $1 Million for CA City Manager
 | July 16, 2021


A former California city manager just received the award for the highest paid such employee to not work a single day, taking home almost $1 million in 2020.

Ken Hunt, the former city manager of Fontana, California, with an estimated population of 214,547, collected $932,623 in 2020 by “resigning to retire,” according to

Hunt announced his retirement in July 2019, and the city agreed to pay him for the rest of 2019, as well as all of 2020, totaling $1,127,378 in wages and benefits.

In exchange for the generous payout, Hunt waived his rights to any potential claim against the city, agreed not to defame the City Council and said he wouldn’t share his opinion on the settlement negotiations, the terms of the agreement or his employment with the city, reported.

It’s unclear when the Fontana City Council approved this settlement. 

Scott Kaufman, the legislative director for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, took issue with the lack of transparency.

"If the public doesn't believe those dollars are being appropriately spent, they have the right to remove the elected officials at the next election, or even recall them," Kaufman said. "It's not the city of Fontana's money, it's taxpayers' money.”

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