Friday, September 4, 2009

A Career Working Behind Enemy Lines

My suspicions about government were confirmed early on in my employment. One of my first assignments was to analyze the "need" for commuter airline service subsidies in Arizona. I went into this study with virtually no knowledge of the industry. I was stunned to discover that so little of the cost for the service was paid for by the passengers. The benefit/cost ratio and rate of return for every option under consideration were negative. Upon presenting these findings to AzDOT management, along with my recommendation that the state not get involved in such a venture, I was rebuked. My task, I was informed, was not to ascertain whether tax dollars would be committed to this program, but to advise on how they ought to be dispensed. "The door to the subsidy program is already open," said the division director. "Our job is to shovel the money out."

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