Tad DeHaven

The United States military shouldn’t be in Afghanistan. There, problem solved. Disagree? Well, then take a look at this report from Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) staff on how the Pentagon spends your money. 

This time around, a frustrated senior executive at the Department of Homeland Security said he and his staff have spent countless hours remaking budgets for every contingency. “First we were told not to develop plans” for sequestration, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly. “Then we spent seven days a week coming up with them and [the cuts] got postponed. Now we’re doing it all over with new targets. It’s taking away from what we need to get done.” 

“Need to get done” as in molesting innocent people at airports? Preparing locals for a zombie apocalypse?  

Agencies may be frustrated with all the back-and-forth, but companies and researchers in line for government funding are fuming. “All they can say when I check with them is, ‘You’re still being considered for funding, but we can’t move forward at this time,’” said Stephen Higgins, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Vermont awaiting about $19 million in two grants from the National Institutes of Health to study chronic disease and smoking. “When [Congress] punted on sequestration, I knew I just took it on the chin.”

Prof. Higgins is taking it on the chin? A lot of people who will be filing a federal tax return in the coming months are about to do the same. And although I can’t comment on the merits of Prof. Higgins’ study, the NIH is the same outfit that has financed studies on chimpanzee feces flinging and how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail

The article goes on to supply quotes from whiner after whiner: a defense contractor, an employee from a Social Security office, a spokesman for the federal courts system, a reservist with the Air Force, and, finally, a director at the National Weather Service. 

That raises a question: where did the author of the piece find all of these people to supply her with quotes that just happened to perfectly fit the narrative?


Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).