Perhaps there are exceptions, but, in general, the federal government has never worked that way. With regard to the Corps, pork barrel politics, boondoggles, and environmental harm have been the modus operandi for more than a century. Here’s what I noted regarding the New Madrid Floodway project in my study of the Corps:
The Corps and some members of Congress have pushed a $108 million project to drain tens of thousands of acres of flood-prone land in Southeastern Missouri to benefit a small number of corn, soybean, and cotton farmers. The area currently acts as a beneficial relief valve for the Mississippi River during floods. Many experts think that this project is absurd, but the Corps sought to speed project approval on the basis of a manipulated cost-benefit analysis. In 2007 D.C. District Court Judge James Robertson harshly criticized the Corps’ analysis as ‘arbitrary and capricious,’ and he said that ‘the Corps has demonstrated its willingness to do whatever it takes to proceed.’
Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, and editor of www.DownsizingGovernment.org. Before joining Cato, Edwards was a senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and an economist with the Tax Foundation.
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