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In Tampa Bay, Fla., the local Workforce Alliance squandered tens of thousands of tax dollars on lunches at Hooters, cupcake delivery fees and VIP country music concert tickets.
In Iowa, $730,000 in federal job-training cash from the stimulus law was redistributed to well-off graduate students to pay off their student loan debt — over and above the more than $205 million in federal student financialaid those students received.
In Washington, Job Corps administrators helped themselves to untold gobs of job-training cash by approving bogus invoices and creating ghost employees.
And in Portage County, Ohio, investigators found that government employees had used an estimated $700,000 in federal job-training money to pay the college tuition of certain county officials and to purchase other items, such as an “XBox 360, laptops, promotion bags, golf shirts, messenger bags, briefcases, Giant Eagle food cards, and golf tees — among other things purchased as promotional items that are not allowable expenses under federal law.”
Tale as old as time.
Cato Institute analyst James Bovard’s seminal work on the federal job-training juggernaut says it all: “Many, if not most, of the participants in federal jobs and job-training programs would be better off today if the programs had never existed. Aside from wasting scores of billions of dollars, government manpower programs distorted people’s lives and careers by making false promises, leading them to believe that a year or two in this or that program was the key to the future. People spent valuable time in positions that gave them nothing more than a paycheck or a certificate, while they could have been developing real skills in private jobs with a future. The fallacy underlying all job-training programs is that the private sector lacks the incentive to train people for jobs.”
Remember: Government job-training programs don’t create jobs. They create bigger government payrolls, redistribute unemployment and perpetuate the illusion of economic recovery and prosperity. It’s a juggernaut too big to fail and too entrenched to kill.
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