Your stimulus money is hard at work in Texas, where state bureaucrats are spending $262 million to build or overhaul several dozen roadside stops. Not all, but most of that money comes from federal funds. No wonder they've spent $10 million on just one rest area near Austin. It doesn't lack for amenities.
The Salado rest area, which was paid for mostly with a federal transportation enhancement grant, features two children's play areas, state-of-the-art vending machines, a storm shelter and sparkling, spacious restrooms that are cleaned around the clock.
Local bureaucrats defend the expense, saying people on the road need to safely stop on long trips. We do, but how elaborate of a rest stop do we need? When it's someone else's money, pretty elaborate.
Many incorporate regional themes. One rest area on Interstate 40 remembers a Route 66 motor court. Another stop near Wichita Falls looks like a barn.
One in the Panhandle is build into an earthen mound, paying tribute to the region’s Caprock terrain.
One bureaucrat said, "Who designs those rest areas? Architects. And architects are artists. To them it’s about pride of authorship."
Proud authors can get extravagant when they get to spend other’s money. Texas politicians have elevated wasting your money to an art form.
This Week's Show -- July 3, 2014
DOOM AND GLOOM MEDIA: The media tell you about problems-like poverty, climate change, an energy "crisis." But "The Rational Optimist" Author Matt Ridley says "actually, things have been getting better, much better."
LIFE GETS BETTER: Author Robert Bryce says most everything today is "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper."
FREE MARKETS: Vox.com writer Zack Beauchamp understands things are better. He says, "markets are a big part of the story... because they spark innovation." But he's also a lefty who believes is plenty of government regulation. I'll push him on that...
FRACKING FEARS: Is fracking dangerous? People tell us it is. My state has banned it. But FrackNation creator Ann Mcelhinney says fracking is "a marvelous thing" and "we need more of it, not less."
MEDICAL MARVELS: Today is one of the most exciting times in history for technology and medicine. Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell explains that doctors now can provide things for patients, like 3D Printer produced organs, that we never imagined were possible.
HOW FAR WE'VE COME: Chris Cheng is a gay and Asian male-a twofer in terms of historic discrimination. But now he works with the NRA and makes speeches about guns. That almost certainly would not have happened in the "good old days."
MY TAKE: Politicians will destroy our future if they continue to ban innovation with regulation. But despite our irresponsible politicians, life has gotten better. Google will inform us about most anything within seconds. Facebook, Instagram, Skype, and email allow us to share all kinds of things. And all of it's free. If innovators can just keep creating new things faster than politicians and regulators can kill them, our future will indeed be the good NEW days.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network