Story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Critics say that Jim Brown isn’t worth millions:
The city of St. Louis, the St. Louis Airport Authority and the transit agency Metro have paid more than $3 million over the past five years to a Washington lobbyist to be their chief advocate with Congress and federal agencies and to steer federal money back home.
The lead to this story highlights the fundamental inefficiency in the current system of government funding and its built-in waste.
The Federal government makes its sweeping national mandates that it wants states and communities to implement. To help the smaller government units handle the demands from above, the federal government passes on grants and whatnot.
So the Federal government collects the taxes, takes its percentage from the top, and hands the money to lower governments. The lower governments spend money from their general funds to employ grant writers and lobbyists to get the diminished revenue pool passed on by the Federal government. Meanwhile, government departments, advisors, and lobbyists get their points from the money passing through their hands from the citizen to the highest level of organization and then back down to the local governments who actually do the work.
So does the Post-Dispatch point out the inherent inefficiencies of the system and argue that the Federal government could scale back its centralization and allow local communities to use local tax revenue for local projects directly and that local communities wouldn’t have to waste existing tax revenue pursuing other tax revenue?
Of course not. They’re upset that the lobbyist isn’t efficient bringing the slop from the Federal trough:
But the lobbyist, Jim Brown, has a mixed record at best, according to interviews with two dozen members of Congress, aides and local officials.