Budget Amnesia

Big Government advocates like us to forget all about their past predictions and promises about the cost of a Big Government Program - especially when they're proposing new ones. They'd rather we didn't notice that Big Government Programs commonly cost at least twice as much as promised - if not ten times more.

Example 1:

Boston's Big Dig construction project was sold to taxpayers as a $2.9 billion project. It's current cost is reported to be $15 billion - more than five times what politicians promised us. More overruns are almost certain. The managers of the Big Dig got caught lying for years about budget overruns which they understated by several billion dollars. For all we know (the state government powers-that-be refuse to open their books), it may already be well over $16 or $18 or even $20 billion.

In November of 2004 it was revealed - before final completion of the project - that the Big Dig tunnel is full of leaks and structural flaws. About 2 million gallons of water leaks from the tunnel every month. Despite efforts to sue Bechtel and other contracted who build it, the state will never recover all of the astronomical, as yet unknown (or undisclosed to taxpayers) cost of repairs. This will drive up the cost even more.

Then in 2006, a ceiling panel fell from a Big Dig tunnel onto a car, killing an innocent woman. This revealed not only more structural flaws, and real dangers to life and limb, but an almost endless liability for repairs that are likely to plague the Big Dig for as long as it is in existence.

Given the high profile of the Big Dig, the media occasionally mentions the fact that it was once promised for $2.9 billion (or possibly even lower: $2.3 billion). But its never mentioned enough. Most people are unaware of how dramatically over budget it is.

Example 2:

After running a continual stream of news articles that claim the government lacks needed funds, the major media will then briefly run reports of a budget surplus when quarter- or year-end numbers are released. Politicians quickly scramble to spend this money on pork barrel projects. Within a few weeks, the media goes back to reporting more claims of budget "shortfalls", with no mention of the fact that politicians had the cash they now claim to need, but chose instead to spend it on pork.