The Eighteen Million Dollar Web Site.

This morning someone had one of those talking heads infotainment morning “news” shows on in another room, and I was half listening to a story about the stimulus bill.  Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on roadside signs telling us that millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on road work.  Toward the end of the segment the host casually mentioned that we’re spending eighteen million dollars on a web site that tracks the package’s spending.

I figured I’d research that later, but didn’t have to – an article about it showed up in a tweet from the Cato Institute.  Yep, eighteen million.

I run three websites:  davehitt.com, which includes The Facts, the Quick Hitts podcast, and this blog, and the separate sites The Podcast Peer Awards and Blood Witness.  It costs me less than $200 a year.  Granted, we’re talking a shared server and maybe 1500 unique visitors on a busy day.  But I’ve also worked for an e-commerce company and am familiar with the costs involved.  A big, busy e-commerce site costs $50k-$100k to set up, and five or six grand a month in hosting fees.  Even if Uncle Sam was contracting for a site to be built from scratch it shouldn’t cost more than five or six hundred thousand dollars for design and implementations, and no more than 100K a year to keep it up and running.

Eighteen million bucks for a single web site.  This is the same government that stupid people believe will bring down the price of health care if we socialize medicine.  Yeah, that’ll work.


16 Comment(s)

  1. I was visiting my aunt and uncle and I saw one of those signs. Basically it said “This project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”

    The only thing was there was no project going on. The road was in good shape, there were no orange barrels or cones, nothing. Just a sign.

    Brian | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. But someone had to make the sign. Ta Da, job created!

    Hittman | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. And it’s gonna be coded strictly in HTML ‘3.something’ with miss-matched fluorescent colors and an annoying midi version of the national anthem on a loop.

    For a couple million $, the .bmps will be hastily converted to .jpegs, although animated .gifs will cost extra.

    Kenny | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. Heck. How could government planners possibly have any idea how much the price of anything should be?

    Authentic prices only come into existance in a voluntary exchange, and exchanges are only possible between two private property owners.

    If resources are collectively owned as they are under socialism, they are merely shuffled around by bureaucratic whims. No exchanges of value for value take place. Thus, it is impossible for them to calculate the value to society of any particular thing. A website is worth $18 million? Sure! Why not? Your heart transplant will be $30 million? Sounds about right to Bureaucrat Steve at that desk over there, so heck–why not?

    Private hospitals can lose business for making their services unaffordable. Governments can. If push comes to shove, they can just print the money to cover their shortfalls! No consumer need be served.

    Josiah | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. Correction: My sentence in the last paragraph was supposed to read “Governments can’t.”

    Josiah | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  6. The end of the empire is near….

    Karl | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. I wrote a post about this very topic, a stretch of I-295 in South Jersey had JUST COMPLETED a massive reconstruction project when the Porkulus started busting out in all of these signs, some of the content of which looks suspiciously familiar, with photo goodness;

    LibertyVini | Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

  8. Josiah, Great explanation. I don’t know why more people don’t understand this simple concept. I’m going to share your response with this blog…

    Julia | Jul 17, 2009 | Reply

  9. “The end of the empire is near…”

    Stand aside and let it fall!

    Mike Sylvia | Jul 17, 2009 | Reply

  10. Josiah, your argument implies a socialist government could just as easily decide a heart transplant should cost $100. Which of course it can’t. It costs as much as the price of a doctor, a surgery, a surgical staff, an anesthesiologist, etc. etc.

    These things arent decided on a whim. Who decides how much firefighters are paid? Is it in line with the private sector? There isn’t one? So they are probably paid 30 million dollars each time they show up for a shift.

    Of course not. People in the “socialist” sector are paid according to the job they do, the skills they have and the experience they bring like anyone in the private sector.

    You also seem to claim that a private hospital would go out of business by overpricing itself. With many millions of Americans unable to afford even basic healthcare and millions more struggling to meet healthcare costs it is quite obvious that private healthcare simply prices itself lucrative.

    Socialised healthcare is, IMO, about agreeing as a community that healthcare, like education, like policing, like firecoverage, like roads, like electricity, like water, is something that everyone is entitled to as a basic right of paying taxes towards a government that funds it.

    Yes, we should get angry when that government pays $18 million for a website or $50 million for a heart transplant. It should spend our money effectivly but it should spend it fairly for all.

    Gary | Aug 6, 2009 | Reply

  11. Gary,

    With all due respect, that is just nuts. NONE of the things you mention started out as public functions, and many of them still aren’t (volunteer firemen? Toll roads? Electricity and water are not public everywhere, though they ARE usually monopolies. And the services you get compared to the taxes you pay are a pittance. The rest is consumed in waste and back-scratching. So no, I don’t think “the community” should be allowed to put a gun in my snoot and tell me “pay up or else”.

    LibertyVini | Aug 6, 2009 | Reply

  12. LibertyVini,
    You are quite right.
    NOTHING, I mentioned started as public functions.

    There was no such thing as public fire coverge. Fire coverage used to consist of households nailing their insurancs coverage to the outside of the house.
    To be fair, streets used to “organise” coverage because fireservices used to put out fires NEXT to the insured house as WELL AS the insured house.
    By paying for different insurance at either end of the street many communities saved money.

    Goodness, America couldn’t save money by paying for healthcare “Socialy” could it!?

    Gary | Aug 15, 2009 | Reply

  13. Exactly right, COMMUNITIES figured out how to pay for the service, not the Federal Government.

    LibertyVini | Aug 15, 2009 | Reply

  14. I have 18 million dollars :) i want to share with you

    Symone | Jul 29, 2010 | Reply

  15. Everyone should check out this million dollar website. Attempting to get 1 million dollars to be donated on Kiva.org!


    Steven Berlin | Jan 24, 2011 | Reply

  16. Everyone should check out this million dollar website. Attempting to get 1 million dollars to be donated on Kiva.org!


    Sorry! It’s .org, not .com

    Steven Berlin | Jan 24, 2011 | Reply

Post a Comment