A Gallup Poll survey in August showed only 17 percent of Americans had a positive opinion of the federal government, while 63 percent had a negative attitude. This mistrust is well earned.
Consider the $24 million the federal government gave the state in 2010 to buy 1,064 powerful Cisco routers — they direct data among computer networks — to help bring high-speed Internet to the farthest reaches of Appalachia.
This was done in the name of stimulating the economy. As the Gazette’s Eric Eyre reported, the state intended to direct some routers to schools, libraries, the State Police, jails, prisons and 911 centers.
But two years later, more than one third of the routers — 366 — sit in boxes awaiting installation. So the money has stimulated the filling of six storage sites across the state.
More than 180 routers are not headed anywhere yet.
The state bought the supply before it established demand. In some cases, needed connections were already in place. In other cases, fiber-optic cable hadn’t reached the targets yet.
This is not how businesses operate. They don’t buy 1,064 routers at $22,600 each and then decide whether they need them.
But this was government money. Federal officials dangled $24 million before state officials, and they just took the money, brushing aside warnings from both the state Office of Technology and the state Department of Education about the appropriateness of the purchase.
Why on earth spend $22,600 on a router to serve four terminals at a library in Putnam County? A router that costs less than $5,000 could serve the library well. …
This is just crazy. But when federal dollars are involved, sense goes out the window.
Such egregiously ridiculous deficit spending should stick in the mind when officials argue that they cannot cut the federal budget.
— Distributed by The Associated Press