You might be surprised to hear there is a Harry Reid Research and Technology Park. You won’t be surprised to learn that U.S. taxpayers are funding part of it.
This monument to the Senate majority leader was not subsidized through some earmark Reid stuck in an appropriations bill. The $2 million grant came through a little-known part of the Commerce Department known as the Economic Development Administration. As Republicans assert that this timethey are serious about cutting spending, killing a corporate welfare agency and pork machine like the EDA would be a great start.
Freshman Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., has introduced the EDA Elimination Act of 2011. In the upper chamber, conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed a similar measure. While EDA is relatively small and nearly unknown, Pompeo sees this as a crucial fight. He calls the EDA “pure redistribution” and the prime example of how federal involvement in the economy allocates wealth “by political processes rather than market processes.”
If you’ve read about absurd congressional earmarks, the list of EDA grants will be dispiritingly familiar. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is building a $52 million convention center, with the EDA covering most of the cost. EDA paid $2 million to subsidize a “culinary amphitheater” and wine tasting room in Richland, Wash. Essar Steel Minnesota is building a new plant, and the EDA is footing $1.4 million of the $1.6 billion tab.