D.C. government wastes millions on HDTV studio

It's pretty hard to sympathize with the District of Columbia's budget woes when you see stories like this one, from our own Michael Neibauer:

The District's cable television office squandered nearly $5 million designing and equipping a high-definition television studio that was ill-conceived and never built, a new audit finds. The Office of Cable Television partnered with Mason Production Services in early 2006 to design and build an HD studio at the agency's headquarters in Northwest…

But the deal with Mason was quietly canceled after 15 months. Most of the equipment remains in its original boxes. The deal “was not clearly in the interest of the District government, its agencies, and more importantly, the citizens of the District of Columbia,” the D.C. inspector general concludes in an audit released this week…Mason was paid $1.39 million and the city's cable television office spent another $3.5 million on equipment, according to the IG, to “derive the benefit of a higher resolution television broadcast picture of mayoral, D.C. Council and educational events.”

D.C., facing a deficit in the neighborhood of $300 million, is currently laying off teachers. Earlier this year, the District put a hiring freeze in place for cops, despite the unacceptable level of violent crime residents here suffer — two and a half times as much per capita as New York City, according to FBI statistics for the first half of this year. Yet bureaucrats are all too happy to take other people's money and spend it on boondoggles like this one, and like the $15 million in bonuses handed out in recent months to top city officials.

The more money government has, the more it will waste. After all, it's other people's money and so none of the decision-makers care as if it were their own. This is a problem that liberals still cannot wrap their heads around, despite the last seven decades of experience with big government.

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