Eliminating the Economic Development Administration
As we well know, bad ideas never die in Washington. Fortunately, some conservatives are making sure good ideas aren’t simply discarded in the waste bin of congressional history.
Last year, we supported an amendment offered by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill that would have eliminated the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA was established in 1965 as an element of President Johnson’s “Great Society” agenda.
Although many Republicans joined Democrats in defeating the amendment, Rep. Pompeo has not given up. This year, he will introduce legislation intended to eliminate the EDA. Congress must terminate this unnecessary agency that has a highly questionable purpose.
Like President Obama’s failed stimulus programs, the EDA has been a categorical failure. Rather than stimulating the economy in any substantial way, as its name would suggest, the EDA has become (sub. req’d) “a slush fund for the well connected.” The federal government already has a strong proclivity to wasting taxpayer money, which is evinced by our massive debt. Having an entire agency basically dedicated to doing just that is extremely ill advised.
As we explained before:
Although the program purports to give financial aid to economically distressed areas, it is nothing more than a mask for political pet projects. Essentially, the agency provides “grants” and “investments” for local projects, including private sector projects that should not be eligible for federal government’s help to begin with. Just as with earmarks, the EDA uses taxpayer dollars to target local projects with a very narrow benefit – in many cases just one particular company or small segment of population.
The Heritage Foundation has long advocated the elimination of the EDA… because it would save $523 million a year. The program is expendable, in part, because many of the projects funded through the EDA already have access to state, local and private sector funding sources, making the federal government’s involvement unnecessary and wasteful.
The EDA overstates its successes and duplicates functions that can be completed by other agencies. It is, without a doubt, a waste of our financial resources, and the sooner it is eliminated, the better. As some have pointed out, “If we can’t close down this failed agency, we will certainly never eliminate any major agency or full department.”
Shutting down the EDA would be a step in the right direction.