Politics & Policy

You Give Pork a Bad Name

Sophomoric federal spending.

If you have a son or daughter in college, or have ever lived in or seen a college dorm room, you can probably picture the walls: posters, photos (some of which a student might prefer to keep Mom from seeing).

Always a fascinating tour, no doubt. But fascinating enough to spend, say, $72,973 on?

That’s what Congress has done already. And the FY2005 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Act currently leaves the door open for more money to go to an already wasteful National Institute of Mental Health study of dorm-room wall decorations and student websites called “Expressions of Identity in Virtual and Physical Spaces.” The study is all about groundbreaking research: “Do individuals become distressed when they cannot use their physical environments to make statements about their values, attitudes, and preferences? Is their self-esteem diminished? Do their grades suffer?”

I would now have Edvard Munch’s Scream on my wall to properly express myself…

A second doozy tucked into the same omnibus spending bill sounds like a bad grad-student all-nighter: There’s time to kill. There’s beer. You’re reading too much Nietzsche or some other philosopher. What it is, however, is a taxpayer-funded study. This time: “What makes a meaningful day” for college students? Your tax dollars have already gone to this vital investigation, which runs contrary to the standard parental answer to that question…

College Student: What makes a meaningful day?

Parent: Don’t waste my money.

The meaning-of-life National Institute of Mental Health study has already received $916,733 of public money.

Two amendments proposed by Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer would prohibit federal funding for both of these wastes of time. You might want to make sure your congressman goes the amendment route here when the two come up later today, en route to better stewardship over the NIMH’s $1.421 billion budget.

And take this as food for thought: These funding tendencies come from a conservative Congress. Mercifully, there are some adults watching the ledger.

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