Record snow in Washington

While two brutal snowstorms pounded the Washington, DC, area, the government was busy wasting money to the tune of $100 million a day. Extreme weather conditions forced the government to close for four and a half days straight, costing tax payers $450 million in lost productivity, according to a Fox News report.

Wondering how much $100 million really is for the government? Last spring, when President Barack Obama ordered his cabinet secretaries to cut $100 million in spending, Heritage’s Ken McIntyre took a look at what $100 million really means. For some context that will knock your socks off, he cited the following observation from Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

We’ll spend about that much every single day just on interest payments for the $787 billion stimulus bill that Congress passed.

All that interest was for on an expensive stimulus package that may or may not have had any impact on the struggling economy. Which would you rather spend your hard-earned tax dollars on: one day of stimulus interest payments or one of the federal government’s operating expenses?

Furthering his analysis, McIntyre also cited Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist and economist, who compared $100 million to an entire year of federal spending:

Let’s say the administration finds $100 million in efficiencies every working day for the rest of the Obama administration’s first term. That’s still around $80 billion, or around 2 percent of one year’s federal spending.

To the average American tax payer, $100 million might seem staggering; most people won’t see that much money over the course of their entire lives. But, for the government, it is quite a different story, as McIntyre points out, “Actually, $100 million might as well be nothing next to federal spending exploding well past $3.5 trillion.”

It looks like wasting $450 million dollars is just a drop in the bucket for the federal government. The record snowfall may have stopped Washington for a few days, but record government spending, and its effects, are sure to linger long after the snow is gone.

Jessica LaHousse currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: