The $14.7 million for a new airport on an Alaskan island that averages only 42 flights a month. The half-million dollars for a new skateboard park in unemployment-ravaged Rhode Island. The $3.4 million for fencing and tunnels to keep Florida turtles from becoming roadkill.
Those proposals for spending federal stimulus money were all criticized by cable news commentators, Republican officials and, in the case of the airport, the inspector general of the Transportation Department. But they have something else in common, too. They are popular locally. And they underscore a truth that has been evident since the New Deal: sometimes the boondoggle is in the eye of the beholder.
Large transfers of money are popular among the recipients? This is news?