Today, Americans for Tax Reform and its Center for Fiscal Accountability sent the following letter to Senators, urging them to oppose the Economic Development Reauthorization Act of 2011. The bill would reauthorize the the Economic Development Agency, a government "stimulus" office created fifty years ago to dole out federal earmarks. From our letter:
The failure of President Obama's "stimulus" program to net economic growth could have been foretold by the consistent shortcomings of the EDA. The agency's own accounting of "jobs created" has been grossly exaggerated, while its internal audits have shown no long-term benefits to the programs it underwrites. A GAO study found that most of the money the EDA receives is devoted to sustaining its bloated bureaucracy rather than job initiatives.
The scope of the program has been significantly expanded since its implementation in 1965 – the number of areas that qualified for aid doubled in the program's first decade alone. As such, this perpetual earmark broker loses most of its funds in waste and fraud. Its Inspector General reported that between 2004 and 2008 alone “violations of EDA grant requirements, such as financial accounting irregularities, conflicts of interest, and improper procurement procedures,” had wasted $13 million.
Even the President's own Fiscal Commission has recommended the termination of the EDA: in their November recommendations, the commission admitted the EDA has become nothing more than a federal slush fund for parochial projects whose objectives are duplicated by many other programs run by the federal government.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.