Some Govt Programs Are Like Old Soldiers: They Never Die

Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 04:47 PM

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Four government programs soaking up $337 million have survived repeated attempts from both parties to eliminate them. What the programs have in common are powerful supporters in the form of members of Congress or lobby groups, The Washington Post reported.

The programs fund the storing of cotton bales, an Asian-American studies course, marketing of U.S. oranges in Asia, and abandoned coal mine cleanup. In 2010, President Barack Obama tried to cut the funding for the Asian program in half even though it is located in his home state of Hawaii and employs his half-sister, Maya Soetero-Ng.

Instead, the East-West Center ended up with an addition $2 million in funding thanks to Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. House Republicans tried again this year to cut the budget for the center in half and ended up just shaving off the extra $2 million it picked up the year before, the Post said.

The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl said, “This is why Ronald Reagan said that a government program is the closest thing to eternal life that we’ve ever seen on Earth. If lawmakers can’t cut programs that cost a few million, how are they going to cut deficits that are going to be in the trillions?” the Post reported.

Both the Obama administration and the Republican Study Committee tried to kill the Agriculture Department’s Market Access Program, which spends $200 million a year to promote U.S. farm products in foreign markets. They failed because of the efforts of the farm lobby, the Post reported.

Nonetheless, some sacred programs found they are as mortal as their champions. This year’s round of budget cuts did not spare programs championed by Sens. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. What the programs had in common is that all three supporters died recently, the Post reported.

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