Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 24 94_WOTD_wk_24

July 30, 2021 10:28 AM



Canceling Keystone Pipeline Could Cost U.S. $15 Billion | July 26, 2021


The Keystone Pipeline System was supposed to create 11,000 American jobs in 2021, but President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the project. Now the company in charge is suing the U.S. government for $15 billion.

The massive pipeline project’s first three phases run from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The proposed phase IV would have connected the existing pipeline terminals in Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Nebraska, by a shorter route and a larger-diameter pipe.

But on the day of his inauguration, Biden signed an executive order to revoke the permit granted by President Donald Trump to TC Energy Corporation.

TC Energy estimated the 11,000 jobs would have totaled more than $1.6 billion in pay, and supporters touted the pipeline as a big step in American energy independence.

“TC Energy will be seeking to recover more than US $15 billion in damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. Government’s breach of its NAFTA obligations,” the company said in its July 2 press release.

In his executive order, Biden said in revoking the permit that “approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest” and would “undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countries to take ambitious climate action.”

Beyond costing Americans jobs and energy independence, this move may also cost taxpayers $15 billion.


Federal Prison System Spends $200K on Propaganda Projects | July 27, 2021


The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is offering $200,000 to create highlights of their own accomplishments: writing up the history of the agency and creating a new criminal justice podcast.

The National Institute of Corrections is under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Prisons and provides support programs to federal, state, and local corrections agencies.

The prison population is large with estimates of up to 1.8 million peopleincarcerated in 2020.

The NIC is offering two $100,000 grants, one to “develop a podcast that meets the corrections-specific information needs of state and local governments and their stakeholders, particularly criminal justice agencies responsible for the management and/or supervision of adult correctional populations.”

The second grant would be to research NIC history since its creation in 1974 after the Attica Prison uprising which 43 people dead.

The project would “create a display of corrections history to educate state and local governments and criminal justice stakeholders about the role of NIC in corrections stemming from the past to the present day,” the grant summary states.

Over a 50-year period, “NIC continues to provide services to corrections, facilitating a safer, more humane, and effective criminal justice field for officers, staff, and supervised populations,” the grant documents state.

They credit themselves with improving jail design and architecture, direct supervision, staff sexual misconduct, and more.

“Behind these accomplishments are the men and women who, over the years, have comprised NIC,” the grant summary states.

The DOJ is spending $200,000 of taxpayer money to promote a taxpayer-funded government agency. 



In Major U.S. Cities – Mayors Defunded the Police, While Spending Millions on Their Own Police Security Details | July 28, 2021


In 25 major U.S. cities across the country, officials have proposed cutting — or have already cut — funds from police budgets. However, in as many as 20 of those same cities, mayors and other city officials enjoy the personal protection of a dedicated police detail. In many cities, these details cost taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

It is police protection for the city officials, but a defunded police department for the citizenry.

Our auditors at filed Freedom of Information Act requests to see just how much taxpayer money is spent on special security arrangements. After two months, 20 cities have either confirmed police details with expenditures or have not yet responded with details to our open records request.

From New York to Portland, Denver to Chicago, Oakland to Atlanta, Seattle to Baltimore, cities across the country have slashed police funding, in many cases reallocating it to social services.

In Chicago, the police department spent $17.3 million between 2015 and 2020 to guard unnamed city officials. That’s as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’s opposed to defunding police while proposing to cut their budget by $80 million. The city had nearly 400 fewer police officer positions in 2020 compared to the year before.

In San Francisco, the police department spent $12.4 million between 2015 and 2020 to protect the mayor. That’s as San Francisco officials promised to divest $120 million from police over two years and put it into health programs and workforce training.

In Baltimore, it cost $3.6 million in 2020 to protect the mayor, the state’s attorney and the police commissioner. Yet, Baltimore has eliminated about $22 million from its police budget. This story first aired on Fox Baltimore.

In San Diego, the police budgeted $2.6 million for 12 full time officers to protect the mayor, city council during meetings, and for city administration building security in 2021.

However, the mayor’s budget calls for cutting $4.3 million from the police overtime budget, and spending more than $1 million to set up the new police oversight body, the Commission on Police Practices.

If these mayors and other officials want to cut police budgets, it seems hypocritical to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on their own police details.



Love Don’t Cost a Thing – But a 1975 Study of Love Cost $424,000 | July 29, 2021


Throwback Thursday! 

In 1975, the National Science Foundation set out to find out why people fall in love.

Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, saw this wasteful and nonsensical spending as a perfect way to kick off what would be the first of a 168-award run of the Golden Fleece Awards over 14 years.

Proxmire gave his first award to the National Science Foundation for spending $84,000 on the study on love, or more than $424,000 in 2021 dollars.

He started what was to become "the most successful public relations device in politics today,” according to The Washington Post.

“I object to this not only because no one — not even the National Science Foundation — can argue that falling in love is a science; not only because I'm sure that even if they spend $84 million or $84 billion they wouldn't get an answer that anyone would believe,” Proxmire said at the time. “I'm also against it because I don't want the answer. I believe that 200 million other Americans want to leave some things in life a mystery, and right on top of the things we don't want to know is why a man falls in love with a woman and vice versa.”

While that was the first Golden Fleece award given monthly to public officials for squandering the public’s money, he continued the tongue-in-cheek awards until 1988, announcing the winners in press releases.

While we do not know if the National Science Foundation ever got its answer, it is safe to say Proxmire did not love the wasteful expenditure.


Teaching Musical Production to People in Turkmenistan
 | July 30, 2021


Turkmenistan is plagued with human rights abuses, including oppressing minorities and limiting press and religious freedoms. But what the U.S. Department of State finds important is funding a trip for Turkmen theater and choir directors to the United States for a cultural exchange on musical production.

The U.S. Mission to Turkmenistan is paying $55,000 to send six theater and choir directors to the U.S. for 7 to 10 days to “participate in musical theater production workshops with their U.S. counterparts, observe productions of musicals, view at least one live musical and engage in follow-up virtual mentorship sessions with their U.S. colleagues.”

Once the six Turkmens return to the Central Asian country, they will produce a musical based on the new techniques and methods they learned.

The goals of the grant are to give the Turkmens more access to information, educate them about American values, and build a positive image of the United States.

“Theater directors and choir conductors at Turkmenistan’s educational and cultural institutions can only study conservative genres approved by the government and demonstrated in state media,” the grant summary states. “Turkmen conductors have expressed interest in producing American style musicals with the Embassy’s support.”

The goal of this exchange program, the grant summary states, is to “increase awareness of American culture, values, and diversity, using musicals to promote freedom of artistic expression.”

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

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