Nick Anthis basically cinches the case for why we should bring back the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment–namely, it costs virtually nothing:
…before being defunded, the annual budget of the OTA was $21.9 million. To put this number into context, this was only about one seven-hundredth of one percent of the US federal budget at the time. In fact, this is such a minuscule amount of money on the scale of a federal budget (think $700 billion bailouts here), that it’s hard to even find a reasonable analogy. For example, the OTA’s budget would be similar in size to that of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. You really have to get that small and specific (and obscure) before you even begin to approach a magnitude where you can draw comparisons.
Um, what is Congress waiting for? It’s a chance to actually use the public’s money for a good public purpose, rather than another bailout.
In fact, let’s run with this theme for a minute: Can somebody make an OTA vs bailout T-shirt? How many useful OTAs could we have for the price of one worthless AIG? You can just see the possibilities…