Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 79 106_wotd_wk_79

August 19, 2022 12:50 PM



NJ to Give $60M to Residents for Electric Vehicles

August 15, 2022


New Jersey will spend $60 million of taxpayer funds to give $4,000 to each person who buys an electric vehicle and $250 to install electric charger stations at their homes.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the funding, which includes $4 million set aside to incentivize apartment buildings and condominiums to install charging stations for their residents to use, The Star-Ledger reported.

The approximately $60 million will come from this year’s Clean Energy Fund, Murphy said, to combat climate change.

The funding comes in the third year of Murphy’s Charge Up New Jersey program, which the governor said resulted in more than 13,000 electric vehicles being purchased during the first two years thanks to taxpayer-funded incentives.

The state will spend another $4 million to give incentives to local governments to buy electric vehicles.

“By the close of last year, roughly 5 percent of all new vehicle sales nationwide were EVs,” Murphy said. “We want to help grow that share by getting more New Jerseyans into their first electric vehicles.”

Most EVs are more expensive than gas powered vehicles, with the average price recently hitting $66,000, whereas gasoline-powered cars average $48,043.

The people buying electric vehicles are already coming from a more financially stable place than lower-income people — a $4,000 subsidy isn’t going to make or break their decision to buy the vehicle.

Why should all of New Jersey’s taxpayers, including those who can’t afford cars and must rely on mass transit, subsidize the cost of a pricey automobile for people well off enough to afford them?



CA School Will Cost $250M to Rebuild After Partial Collapse

August 16, 2022


Part of a 20-year-old California high school building collapsed and now the state must pay $250 million to rebuild it.

Thankfully, students were at home from pandemic school closures on June 16, 2020, when “8 tons of concrete and metal roofing came crashing down without warning onto the concourse leading into the main classroom building at Lynwood High School,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

The collapse came without warning and the school district found that the main three-story building, with 110 classrooms, wasn’t salvageable and must be demolished.

A new classroom building and other necessary repairs will cost $250 million, the newspaper reported. On top of the state funds, the school district spent about $16.2 million on relocating students and on a structural investigation.

How could a building that’s only 20 years old collapse out of nowhere? “The review showed that the shoddy workmanship that led to the collapse of the ceiling above the concourse was pervasive,” The LA times reported.

Covered outdoor hallways had the same flaws, with any section having the potential to collapse at any time. Instead of having firm bracing every 10 feet, the entire 30-foot span concourse roofing had only one brace.

And the unsupported sections didn’t have a continuous beam going across the entire span but two beams that met in the middle and were connected together without bracing at the connection point. “The contractor that built the school — this is the first school they built and the last one they built from the information that we’ve gotten,” said Gregory Fromm, assistant superintendent of business services, who added that the contractor has long been out of business, the newspaper reported.

The obvious question: Why did school officials award the school-building contract to a company that had never built a school?

In addition, in a legal settlement about 20 years ago, the district agreed to accept the school as-is and not pursue any future claims against the contractor.



Congress Spends $96K for Staffer Meditation App

August 17, 2022


House of Representatives staffers were so disturbed by the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol that last year, Congress decided to spend $96,000 on a meditation app to calm their nerves.

The agreement with Calm, a San Francisco-based health software company, gives House staffers a free subscription to Calm’s meditation, sleep, and relaxation app, Fox News reported.

House Appropriations subcommittee chairman Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, announced the agreement in December, saying it was part of a larger effort to address the trauma that events of January 6. inflicted on staff.

"As we head into 2022 and prepare to mark the first anniversary of the events of January 6, 2021, be assured that these offices are here to support you with their comprehensive mental and emotional support resources and to help develop and improve your resilience, growth, productivity, and overall well-being," Ryan’s letter read.

The app agreement began in October 2021, with Congress paying 2 per month per subscriber up to 4,000 people per month, costing $96,000 over 12 months, Fox News reported.

Regular Americans without a congressional hookup pay $14.99 a month or a one-time annual fee of $69.99 to subscribe to Calm’s app, which aims to advance self-improvement by enhancing sleep quality, curtailing anxiety, and boosting focus. The spending comes from the $1.9 billion emergency spending package that Congress passed last year to bolster security post-January 6.


Throwback Thursday: National Endowment for the Humanities Funds Humanistic ‘Bull Sessions’

August 18, 2022


Throwback Thursday! 

The taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Humanities spent $750,000 in 1976 — $3.9 million in 2022 — on grants for well-heeled doctors, lawyers, and school administrators to “attend tuition-free, vacation-like, month-long humanistic bull sessions at some of the choicest university watering holes in the country next summer.”

That’s according to Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who gave a Golden Fleece Award to the National Endowment for the Humanities in January 1976 for wasteful and nonsensical spending.

The purpose of the seminars, the Endowment said, was “to broaden and sharpen their humanistic perspectives.”

Proxmire mocked the need to send well-educated professionals to these seminars on the taxpayer’s dime.

“The Endowment apparently decided that the many years of undergraduate and graduate education these professionals undergo is inadequate,” Proxmire said in 1976. “It is proposing that a seminar ‘for concentrated mid-career humanistic study’ at Uncle Sam’s expense is just the remedy needed.”

There were five of these seminars in 1974, but by 1976, they increased to 20, Proxmire reported, with taxpayers paying about $3,000 for each of the 240 to 300 professionals to attend.

The Endowment also paid for transportation, textbooks, and stipends for the participants, Proxmire said. The summer sessions were held, among other places, at Stanford University and Williams College.

At the sessions, the professionals engaged in discussions that “can help to clarify understanding of the fundamental issues facing modern society and broaden the perspective from which thinking citizens view their professions and society at large.”

Noting again that the participants were well-educated professionals, Proxmire said, “I believe the American taxpayers will think that these professionals can afford to raise their humanistic consciousness at their own expense.”



HHS Pays NYU to Study Why Kids Prefer White Males

August 19, 2022


Researchers at New York University are getting $40,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services to study how and why children believe white men represent the “default person.”

The grant is touted to advance equity among women, men of color, and gender nonconforming people, looking at children’s perspectives.

“Despite national rises in racial and gender diversity, white men remain vastly overrepresented across a host of domains within the U.S., from media, to politics, to clinical research,” the grant summary states.

That overrepresentation puts the rest of society at risk, HHS says, identifying the victims as “women of all races, men of color, and gender-nonconforming individuals.”

The three-year research project at the private university will study the “developmental trajectory of children’s beliefs that white males — more so than black males, white females, or black females — best exemplify a person.”

The grant summary doesn’t explain how the researchers, and HHS, have come to the conclusion that children do in fact see white men as default people. If there are any studies that show that, they’re not mentioned here.

“Clinical trials have historically prioritized the experiences, perspectives and health outcomes of white men,” the grant summary states. “To address this issue, we must understand when and how the tendency to view white males as default people develops across childhood, as well as the environmental factors that underlie this phenomenon.”

Judicial Watch notes that this most recent project to pursue racial equity “is part of a broader HHS Equity Action Plan designed to transform how the agency does business in order ‘to concretely advance equity.’”

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