During the 1970s, William Proxmire, then a Democratic senator from Wisconsin, handed out a monthly award called the Golden Fleece. It was dedicated to exposing a particularly deplorable example of government waste: funding for silly projects, duplications of bureaucratic effort, and so on.
As with every congressional exploit, there was always the taint of publicity mongering around the Golden Fleece, but that was, after all, the point: What better cure for government ineptitude than the glare of publicity?Proxmire is now retired, but we're happy to see that some of his Democratic colleagues in Congress are again raising the banner. They have formed a task force to highlight examples of how government often misuses taxpayer dollars.
The motives are not purely of the "good government" variety, of course. Partisan politics enters in, too. As the task force chairman put it: "Republicans have put us in a position that we appear as the party that only cares about spending. We need to change that perception."
If the Democrats want to make political hay out of government waste, let them go right ahead. This kind of political hay we can stand.