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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

Sidewalks: Our Path to Economic Growth

Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 09, 2008

The United States Conference of Mayors sent this porky wish list to the Hill yesterday.

They're calling it "America's Mayors Report to the Nation on Projects to Strengthen Metro Economies and Create Jobs Now."

I'm calling it a joke.

A word search of the document found 790 hits for "sidewalk." Most of those are for individual projects.

America's mayors want to grow the economy by building sidewalks. Brilliant.

Don't forget the catwalks. There's $1 million for the LA Convention Center "catwalk" (page 50). And we're singing now, "I'm a mayor, you know what I mean. And I do my little turn on the catwalk, where I grab all the taxpayer dollars I can..."

Total cost of the wish list is $73,163,299,303. They claim this will create an estimated 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010. Divide that out, and you get a cost to taxpayers of $86,314 per job. Not exactly a great deal. The sidewalk maintenance industry isn't exactly a sustaining sector of the economy.

**Update 1 11:03 am 12/09/08**

NTU's Pete Sepp noticed there are 56 requests with the word "museum" in them, including a Beach Museum in Miami, the Music Museum of Ponce, and the Baseball Museum of Durham, NC.

**Update 2 11:22 am 12/09/08**

We've found a number of repeated entries. For example, Ponce, Puerto Rico, asked twice for $1,750,000 for the Music Museum.

Be aware that all the projects are listed by City and by Sector. Yet there's no transition header on the page when the switch is made.

**Update 3 11:320 am 12/09/08**

More finds from the free-market community:

$6,000,000: Ventura CA, Water Surfers Point Improvements - This project is to protect the beach with natural buried cobble stone, create sand dunes over the buried cobble, relocate, and rebuild the State Owned Omer Rains beach front bike path, and construct parking lot and drainage. (Page 735) That's one gnarly infrastructure project dude! Hang Six Million!

$1,500,000: Dayton, OH, Initiative to Reduce Prostitution-Off the Streets Program - This initiative would connect individuals involved in prostitution with resources to leave a life of prostitution. (Page 323)

Thoughts?   Add Comment -


Keith said on Dec 10 2008 at 8:50am
I love how a lot of these "jobs" created by this list will only employ some people for a few days or weeks. I am sure that will do a lot to stimulate the economy.


Goforth said on Dec 10 2008 at 8:57am
I am glad to see that many of these jobs will only provide work for short amounts of time.