Conventional wisdom dictates that once a government program begins, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to snuff it out, especially at the Federal level. Not so when it comes to the DC Opportunity Scholarships. You could think of the program as an earmark like any other, but with (gasp) evaluation built into the program. By some definitions, they aren’t a true earmark, but give me the benefit of the doubt for a few paragraphs.
Rattling off a list of less important or more expensive earmarks does not take much effort. From the Citizens Against Government Waste 2009 Pigbook:
$3,000,000 by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to help make data received from NASA satellite images more accessible to the public. Apparently the two senators have not heard of NASA TV. According to the NASA website, “The NASA TV Public and Educational channels are ‘free-to-air,’ meaning your cable or satellite service provider can carry them at no cost.” Interested viewers should contact their local cable or satellite service provider to get NASA TV, and ask the senators for a rebate of their share of that $3 million.
As Eduwonk points out, you need to work really hard to find someone who thinks this program is doing any harm. Andy’s other thoughts on the matter are laced with the same cynicism that I unsuccesffully fought in my own post yesterday.
Let this harmless little earmark runs it course and then review it during congressional hearings before funding it again. I know I am beating a dead horse here, but wanted to offer another angle whereby politics wins the day. Loyalty before morality. Adults before children.