The most difficult task in the world is to cut spending on an existing federal program even when many of them are complete disasters. The lobbyists and the bureaucrats have far more influence than taxpayers. Our Senators and Representatives will NOT fight for us, even though they are spending OUR money and using the authority which WE have delegated to them.
More than three decades after the loan program was created, USDA officials still don't know whether it works. Funds have gone to firms that have hired foreign workers instead of Americans. Millions more have gone to failing and bankrupt businesses. Most of the jobs are not new. Many are low-tech and low-wage.
In addition to the loan program, the USDA has handed out almost half a billion dollars in rural development grants to businesses and nonprofits since 2001.
Loan guarantees or grants have gone to a car wash in Milford, Del.; a country club in Great Falls, Mont.; a movie theater in Smithfield, N.C.; a water park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; an alligator hunter in Dade City, Fla.; snowmobile clubs in Maine; and dozens of gas stations and convenience stores in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.
In congressional testimony and news releases, USDA officials stress that the loan and grant programs have helped revitalize rural America by creating or saving 1.5 million jobs since 2001. But in some cases, creating a single job costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, the USDA's losses continue to climb. More than one in five loans -- nearly 2,700 -- result in a loss in the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, the agency's largest rural lending effort. Yet the USDA has asked for its money back from just 19 banks for fraud or mismanagement since 1974.