Curious spending priorities

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board March 27, 2013 08:16 am

Architecturally speaking, the David J. Wheeler Federal Building in Baker City will never be mistaken for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright or I.M. Pei.

But whatever it lacks in beauty and style, the three-story structure continues to fulfill the prosaic purpose for which it was built in 1967: Office space for federal employees.

We find it curious, then, that the federal government, which just this month deemed it necessary, among many other things, to revoke tuition aid to National Guard soldiers, shut down many airport control towers and close some national parks, managed to scrape up the cash to remodel the second and third floors of the Wheeler building.

Now we understand that, from a strict accounting standpoint, the building’s interior renovations and the sequester cuts are not related.

Except that they share the most important trait: They’re all part of the trillions of dollars Americans contribute each year to the federal coffers.

We’re not so naive as to expect that each of those dollars will be spend in the most efficient way possible.

Yet neither are we content with the explanation that remodeling federal buildings while vastly more vital services go wanting is an inevitable result of the complexity of the federal budget.

We’re certain our local public forests are more in need of money than our local public buildings are.