The United Kingdom Throws Down the Gauntlet with a Strong Entry in the Government Stupidity Contest

Daniel J. Mitchell
Posted: Nov 18, 2012 12:01 AM

I periodically compare moronic decisions and policies by governments in the United States and United Kingdom. You can peruse some jaw-dropping examples by clicking this link.

To show that politicians and bureaucrats don’t have a monopoly on stupidity, I’ve also shared a pair of examples that expose foolishness in the private sector.

“Won’t anyone take free money?”

I think the contest has been pretty even to date, but now we have an entry from the United Kingdom that may be hard to beat. The government created a new boondoggle program, but managed to make it so convoluted that no households have signed up for the handouts.

This is astounding. How incompetent does a government have to be that it can’t even give away money? Here are some laughable excerpts from the Telegraph.

The Green Deal encourages homeowners to take out a loan to make their house more energy-efficient. …households have had since October 1 to have their home assessed for the scheme prior to its launch. However Greg Barker, the climate change minister, has admitted that “no assessments have yet been lodged” on the Government’s official register by homeowners. Luciana Berger, the shadow climate change minister, described the Green Deal as a “shambles” and said its launch is “lying in tatters”. The Coalition hopes that owners of up to 14 million draughty homes will sign up to the scheme. …In an effort to kick-start interest, DECC last month announced a £125 million ‘cashback’ scheme, offering homes up to £1,000 if they sign up as ‘early adopters’. Ms Berger said that homeowners are being put off by the Deal’s complicated finance arrangements.

Not only did the giveaway fail to attract any household beneficiaries, only one firm out of 10,000 signed up to be “accredited Green Deal” participants.

As well as lack of interest from homeowners, building companies are also shying away from getting involved. According to the Federation of Master Builders, the UK’s biggest building trade body, only one firm from its 10,000-strong membership has signed up to become an accredited Green Deal installer.

Again, this is remarkable. When a government is too incompetent to give away other people’s money, you know that’s special.

Sadly, this is the exception rather than the rule. The burden of government spending is excessive in the United Kingdom, in part because of the faux budget cuts of David Cameron’s CINO regime.