Office Space

Probably the most frustrating thing about our budget debacle is that actual waste, fraud and abuse seem to be much harder to root out than useful or necessary spending. We’re closing airport towers and cutting off research funds. But the tens of billions in waste OMB identifies every year goes untouched. The tens of billions first President Bush and then President Obama identified goes untouched. The tens of billions that Tom Coburn identifies goes untouched.

Example:

The federal government owns or leases between 55,000 and 77,000 vacant properties. But it’s impossible to tell exactly how many. No precise inventory has been kept.
Selling them off, though, could save taxpayers between $3 billion and $8 billion a year, according to various analysts. That’s nothing to scoff at as the government grapples with a mounting debt and sequester-tied spending cuts.

“These properties could be used first to consolidate agencies that now are in leased buildings,” D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told Fox News.

Tom Schatz, of Citizens Against Government Waste said: “This is a problem that has been identified for years, and every time someone in the White House says ‘let’s sell property,’ the red tape is simply too much for this process.”

Now I’m sure that Paul Krugman or someone will write an article about how all these empty expenses stimulate the economy or keep the real estate market from collapsing. I don’t buy it. This is very close to the Keynesian Platonic Ideal of paying people to dig holes and fill them back up again. That real estate — some in prime locations — could be of much better use.

Here’s a suggestion. The federal government has massively expanded over the last decade, building entire cities of new office buildings to house the security state and the apparatus connected with Obamacare. Congress can simply pass a moratorium on new construction for federal agencies. All agencies will be required to renovate and use old building before building new ones (unless there is a very good reason old buildings may not be suitable, such as working with Ebola).

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    My buddy in the stage-hands union recently had some government dweeb (federal) spend a couple hours lecturing them on how they all needed to do an aerobics class so they push off their retirement age by two years. You know, guys that spend 12-hour days in warehouses moving boxes of stage equipment, rigging lights, and generally being in better shape than most of us dream of being.

    There exists a government job to go around and tell these people to be more active.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    We give him shit about being a union flunky all the time. Not that he doesn’t call them a bunch of morons himself half the time; always looking for a way to drag out a standard day’s work into overtime or cheat the system.

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  3. Dave D

    Hal:

    I agree with your points above, but SURELY you are not excusing research funding from categorical government waste? I’m sure billions of dollars could be cut from researching things like why coyote populations are migrating from norther Michigan to my back yard in Detroit, right?

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  4. balthazar

    Wait a minute…

    I thought ALL union members were fat lazy slobs sucking off the teat of the makers – or is that just the ones who are not your buddies? Very Portmanesque.

    Hey shitstain, it isnt the members of the unions, by and large, its the assholes in charge that force/threaten the members and steal thier money to support thier pet project.

    Way to prove you are a useles pile of garbage yet again.

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  5. Mississippi Yankee

    balthazar,
    as a fellow former marine I feel compelled to warn you, if you’re on Facebook, don’t ever go to the page Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. Your productivity will fall to 0% for several hours then you’ll begin to wear out your ‘share button’.

    It’s the second worse thing that’s ever befallen me. Being born white, of course, comes in first.

    Those people will live inside your head.

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  6. Seattle Outcast

    And the reason those “assholes in charge” are forced to threaten the union turds is that union members are frequently the lowest dregs of society and subscribe the notion that they “own” their jobs, tend towards alcoholism, drug abuse, and buggering family pets.

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  7. CM

    And the reason those “assholes in charge” are forced to threaten the union turds is that union members are frequently the lowest dregs of society and subscribe the notion that they “own” their jobs, tend towards alcoholism, drug abuse, and buggering family pets.

    A lot of modern liberalism is about self-righteousness and feeling superior to others.

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  8. Mississippi Yankee

    balthazar,

    My warning was a poor attempt at being facetious. The FB page is 100% irreverent Marine Corps funny. Their humor and social commentary is delightfully brutal especially in this politically correct world we seem to have entered.

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