This weekend the government-funded Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) bought an empty page in the Denver Business Journal as part of their marketing plan to get people to carpool to work. It then had the nerve to ask readers if they thought it was a waste of space.
You may have seen the frivolous billboards around town extolling busy members of the productive class not to drive alone, using the overly clever headline “Don’t be an SOV.” This attention-grabbing play on a more crude acronym is somehow supposed to raise awareness of carpooling. Without even trying, this waytogo.org program is a caricature of Reagan’s quip about a government program being the closest thing we will ever find to eternal life: the organization brags on its website that it has been helping people find ways to work since the gasoline crisis in the 1970s.
Outside of the state and local government bureaucracy, most people have never heard of the DRCOG. It is a group of dozens of local government entities that is funded from federal and local government grants and membership dues. In other words, we are taking tax money from families and borrowing from China for their clever carpool awareness campaign. Never mind that private enterprise has come up with literally hundreds of carpooling arrangement opportunities in the area.
DRCOG also invests in many other useless pursuits, such as the Baghdad-Denver Regional Partnership (yes, that Baghdad), the Denver Regional Aerial Photography Project (yes, there are numerous private companies that do this, including a really big one in our own backyard), and Bike to Work Day (coming up on June 26).
For all of this, taxpayers of one kind or another are footing the bill for a $22.2 million FY 2013 budget, with a “hockey stick” spending trajectory growing more than 30% per year since 2011. So the answer is “yes,” DRCOG, we think that blank page you bought in the Denver Business Journal with other people’s money is a waste. And we don’t need to pay more of our wages in taxes for such meaningless programs and make-work projects for useless bureaucrats.