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Sep 23rd 2006

why not give each martin, ky resident $138,571.42?

the city of martin, kentucky [view map] is being moved by the army corps of engineers to higher ground. martin is prone to flooding. it has a population of 700 people. the cost of the project is $97 million. [source]

i’m no genius, but i do own a calculator. for what the army is spending on this project, they could have just given each and every person in the town $138,571.42.

(or $138,500, leaving $50,000 to throw them a fancy farewell party complete with ice sculptures and circus midgets.)

here is some information about martin, kentucky that might help the analysis:

median household income: $12,917 (year 2000)
median house value: $44,000 (year 2000) [source]

this kind of puts it in perspective for me. in my hypothetical scenario where people get the $138k check, the person living in the median-value house and earning the median income could buy a new home in an area where the cost of living is similar and still be able to put the better part of a decade’s salary in the bank.

even if martin residents were given a much more modest fund (but, of course, not foregoing the proper midget send-off) then they could make a new life for themselves somewhere else. the army corps of engineers could be utilized on a more vital project. and the leaky bucket of wasteful government projects would hold a little more water.

then again, there is a tendency toward consumption spending when people in certain tax brackets get a cash windfall.

5 Responses to “why not give each martin, ky resident $138,571.42?”

  1. doug

    Classic…in the bad sense.

    This reminds me of agricultural subsidies/tariffs. The federal government props up comparatively innefficient farming practices here in the U.S. at the expense of third world farmers (take sugar, for example).

    I can’t remember the exact statistic (and am too lazy to use Google before heading to bed), but if they just paid each farmer something like $200,000 to do absolutely nothing, everyone would be better off. The U.S. farmers would get a free check, the third world farmers would make more money, and we (the consumers) would end up paying less for sugar.

  2. Ryan

    Who makes these kinds of decisions?

    The Army or elected officials?!

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  4. […] *why not give each martin, ky resident $138,571.42? (questioning the need to spend $97 million to make a town of 700 residents flood proof….why not just ask people to move?) […]

  5. […] why not give each martin, ky resident $138,571.42? (a flood-prone town of 700 is relocated, at a cost of $97,000,000.00. i question the propriety of this.) […]