Green Room

Sno-Cone Machines And Profligate Government

posted at 9:47 am on December 6, 2011 by

We have a 15 trillion dollar national debt. Ever wonder how we got there?

Yesterday, although the paper warped it into a completely stupid rant on race, the NY Times told us that government workers are losing their jobs. Why? Because revenue is down and budgets are tight.  But there are other reasons as well.

And here’s an example of one of them:

Montcalm County recently received a $900 Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine.

The West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC) is a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties.

The WMSRDC recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.

The machines were funded by a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program. The request for a snow cone machine came from another county, but all 13 counties received them.

Your first question has to be “why wasn’t a request to “Homeland Security” for a Sno-Cone machine summarily turned down with a warning that such requests were inappropriate? Especially in tight fiscal times? Well the simple answer to that is because Homeland Security isn’t dealing with its own money. It’s dealing with your money. And because of that apparently nothing is inappropriate, tight fiscal times or not.

Note the job description of the WMSRDC I’ve emphasized. And what is the reason for a Sno-Cone machine? Well here’s the reason given why it was “necessary”:

MCES Director David Feldpausch said the machine could be useful at the scene of a large fire or during very hot weather.

“I don’t like the term snow cone machine, because it sounds horrible,” Feldpausch said. “When you look at it as an ice shaving machine and its purpose, it makes a little more sense. I assume it will get used in Montcalm County a lot more in the summertime by the Fire Corps.”

Of course he doesn’t like the term “snow cone machine”. It doesn’t just sound terrible, it sounds inappropriate and wasteful. And it is both of those things.  Certainly it would be a “nice to have” item.  But a bucket of ice and some water would serve the same purpose.

And of course there’s the matter of a single $900 request being turned into a $12,000 dollar expense when some bureaucrat decided all of the counties, even the 12 who never asked for one, get a Sno-Cone machine.

Now I know this comes from a completely different bucket of money, but any idea of what percentage of an employee’s salary this would pay if layoffs are being contemplated in the area? Is this the best and most appropriate use of Homeland Security money? Does anyone even review this stuff?

Profligate spending is the symptom of an out-of-control government. While $12k spending is but a mere speck on a drop in the bucket of money spent by government each year, it is indicative of how we got into the debt mess which we now find ourselves and is ever getting worse. Multiply these sorts of transactions by the millions and you begin to understand how we have gotten where we are.

There is no necessity for shaved ice at a fire. Note the word. Necessity. There are plenty of much less costly alternatives. Like bagged ice and water. And this is for a contingency (“large fire”, summertime) for an event which may or may not happen.

The reason I highlight things like this is because the are better understood by people than complex and much more costly examples which are essentially the same but harder to wrap your head around. This is relatable. This shows clearly how wasteful government can be with a fairly low cost example that people can readily identify with.

Its like showing a picture of luxury food which is able to be purchased with EBT cards (Food Stamp Cards). You naturally know “this ain’t right”. You sort of go with the idea of helping the less able, but you bristle at being taken advantage of. Well the above example “ain’t right” and certainly an example of taking advantage of the taxpayer, but typical of literally millions of government purchases over the years.

Result. Well just take a gander at the national debt clock if you need a reminder.

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I keep seeing these stories about increasing use of food stamps and I keep asking myself why am I not on food stamps getting my fair share.

Skandia Recluse on December 6, 2011 at 12:00 PM