Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Newscom

Monday night was a busy one for Heritage Foundation experts. They burned the midnight oil as they pored through the 1,582-page omnibus spending bill.

Congress will vote on this bill in the next few days. And since the bill was just released Monday, we’re wondering how many Members of Congress will actually know what’s in it before they vote.

Here’s some of what’s in it. In today’s Morning Bell, Heritage’s Amy Payne lists six examples of failed government programs that get funding at your expense:

  1. Head Start. Head Start is an emotional trap. It’s supposed to help children get a jumpstart on success—and who can be against that? Well, the fact is that it just doesn’t work. Head Start has been a colossal failure for those children and their parents. As Heritage’s Lindsey Burkeexplains, an Obama Administration study confirmed that “Access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.” This omnibus increases funding for the failed Head Start and Early Head Start programs by $612 million.
  2. U.S. Postal Service. The USPS already defaulted on its debt last year—after seven straight years of deficits. It’s saddled with billions owed to retiree benefits, and customers are sending less and less mail with each passing year. If it is to survive, the USPS needs big reforms, but in this omnibus spending bill, Congress blocks two needed money-savers: discontinuing Saturday delivery and closing some rural post offices.
  3. Amtrak. Despite operating in the red (even its snack cars lose millions of dollars), Amtrak would get $1.39 billion in the omnibus. Heritage expert Emily Goff reminds Congress that, as a step toward full privatization, it should make Amtrak subsidies contingent on reductions in its operating costs. How? Competitive contracting. Goff says, “Competitive contracting would improve Amtrak’s quality of service and lower its operating costs, which is good news for both riders and taxpayers.”
  4. Job Corps. A job training program—sounds like a good thing. Except when it doesn’t boost participants’ wages or help them secure full-time jobs. The omnibus gives Job Corps $1.65 billion, even though Heritage’s David B. Muhlhausen concluded years ago that “Job Corps does not provide the skills and training necessary to substantially raise the wages of participants.”
  5. Firefighter grants. Once again, a program that sounds like it should help people does not. Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis evaluated the effectiveness of fire department grants and found that the grants were ineffective at reducing fire casualties. They failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, or civilian injuries. Yet the omnibus sends $680 million to this program.
  6. Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The omnibus gives this failed hiring grant program $214 million. Heritage expert Muhlhausen points out Heritage research findings: COPS failed to add 100,000 additional officers to America’s streets and was also ineffective at reducing crime.

Heritage experts have researched each of these programs and found them to be ineffective.

Do you think your tax dollars should fund failed government programs?

Comments (11)

Patricia - January 15, 2014


Dean Newman - January 15, 2014

Badly constructed programs continue over the years to get increasing funding. What is missing is an objective review/evaluation of each program, each legislative bill every year. In this regard the work of the Citizens Against Government Waste must be taken seriously every year. What has gone on year after year is ridiculous.

JOHN - January 15, 2014

when you go to school and learn, you pass – if not you fail. evidently government is the only body that gets failing grades, yet, still retains their positions. if projects are failing, quit spending money YOU DON’T HAVE, to continue funding.

Walt R. Davenport - January 15, 2014

Not only “NO” but “Hell no” !!! I have to believe there are honest and caring politicians in Washington D.C. but they must be buried by the liberals in both houses. I am a retired stockman/rancher, retail hardware owner, wholesale oil & gasoline distributor and real estate broker. I would have been broke years ago if I conducted my business like our government. Keep up the good fight. We cannot afford to let the liberals win. Continue to fight them tooth and nail every day and night. This is America — not a playground for politicians and bureaucrats to spend us into the poor house with no accountability. I stand amazed at what has happened to our free and wonderful nation. It cannot continue. Don’t let it. Thank you —

JOseph C.Beck - January 15, 2014

I agree whole heartedly that the listed ineffedtive programs shold be dropped but have no idea how we can force it to be done at this late stage of events. It is difficult to get in touch with your own representative with so much information quickly. I think most if approached on a one on one basis would agree with Heritage findings but few would have the guts to say no and may not even have a way to sepcifically comment on a given program with any effect. One of the shortcomings of our system.

Gary Adams - January 15, 2014

You mean to tell my there is nothing good in the omnibus spending bill? Why only state the negative. Look, I don’t disagree with what was said in the article, I’m just frustrated with anyone that doesn’t present or write the good and bad. I’m not sure this is an op ed piece?
I’d like to hear or read a response.

John Campbell - January 16, 2014

There is becoming more waste in government than benefit. Paying taxes is like throwing your money in the fire, very little output.

Marriet bowser - January 16, 2014

No! NO! NO! Do not fund failure…..have we lost our reasoning for good? Foolishness!

Audrey Kline - January 16, 2014

Where is congress?….
THEY seem to be Mia …is anyone asking for accountability? How many of them have read this omnibus….more then just having there interns try and fill them in on their own pet projects. It’s a disgrace….and hopefully, we will turn out in big numbers 11/14 and maybe vote in fresh blood with a conscious .

William pierce - January 18, 2014

take all the wasteful spending out of congress pay

Don - January 20, 2014

OF COURSE NOT! What kind of question is that? How about, failed or not, our Constitution does not provide authority for spending public money on ANY of these programs in the first place!!

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