NOTE: The following article is OPINION, and as such, it represents the point of view of the author, and he alone.
The Senate has not passed a budget since 2009, and politicians scream that ‘The sky is falling!’ due to the big, nasty, world-ending ‘sequester’, and yet, they continue to ride the clock and take expensive trips, while we’re faced with more tax increases. They threaten a government ‘shut down’, and yet, we all know that it’ll never happen. They love their inflated salaries too much. They want to raise the ‘Debt Ceiling’ (again), and still they refuse to cut spending.
For all of those out there that truly BELIEVE that ‘Government is the answer,’ I’ll say this:
The government of the United States does not generate, or produce, revenue in any way, shape, or form. Government’s role, to put it simply, is more akin to that of upper to middle-level management of a business. Government’s role is to manage and regulate, again, no different from a business.
But, as many have correctly pointed out, government is not a business. However, does this protect those in it from making poor choices when instituting wasteful programs, awarding questionable grants, instituting ridiculous studies, and adding nonsensical, pointless, non-related ‘pork’ onto various bills and resolutions that waste OUR TAX DOLLARS?
Government is only able to function due to our tax dollars. Some will say “But we got loans from (insert sketchy foreign nation here),” but those loans will have to be paid back with, you guessed it, OUR TAX DOLLARS.
As for the Fed printing out tens of thousands of dollars per hour, without backing, let's just say that if you or I did that, we would face severe time in a federal prison for counterfeiting.
“We have to bail out the banks.” This was done with OUR TAX DOLLARS.
“GM can’t be allowed to fail.” OUR TAX DOLLARS.
“We have to send aid to…wherever.” OUR TAX DOLLARS.
“Wall Street.” OUR TAX DOLLARS.
Are you getting my point?
I’m not going to get into ‘paying your fair share’, or ‘who pays what, compared to…’, particularly when famous gazillionaires state “I’ll happily pay more taxes to help push through (insert lame-brained program here),” then turn around and pay less than 3 percent of said umpteen gazillion dollars, all because of being able to afford smart, unscrupulous tax attorneys, offshore accounts, and other various (legal?) loopholes. Rather, I’m going to present to you just a few ways in which government wastes OUR TAX DOLLARS.
(This list does not include the monies sent overseas as ‘Foreign Aid.’)
1. Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
2. Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them, costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually, fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
3. Washington spent $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
4. A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, including over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold. The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
Angry yet? Starting to feel a bit like firing those ‘Representatives of the People?’ No? I’ll go on.
5. The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
6. The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
7. The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
8. Washington spent $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, then Senator, now Secretary of State, John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
9. Despite trillion-dollar deficits, 2009's 10,160 earmarks (pork) included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia. Think it's just this administration's fault? Let's take a look at BIPARTISAN waste of OUR TAX DOLLARS.
10. Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of OUR TAX DOLLARS supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines, plus $24,730 EACH on leasing a Lexus, $1,434 EACH on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.
11. Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737. Man, I would have done it cheaper.
12. Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches, despite the fact that this new sand washes back into the ocean.
13. Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.
14. Members of Congress paid themselves $90 million to increase their rubber-stamped mailings for the 2010 election year.
15. OUR TAX DOLLARS are funding paintings of high-ranking government officials at a cost of up to $50,000 each.
16. The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use.
17. Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.
18. Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia. PRIVATE. Built with OUR TAX DOLLARS, and not open to the public. Good thing I’m not a golfer, or this would make me angry.
Other wasteful programs and studies include:
19. Protecting a Michigan insect collection from other insects ($187,632).
20. Studying the ‘hookup’ behavior of female college students in New York ($219,000).
21. A university study as to whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol in Florida ($8,408).
22. Recovering crab pots lost at sea in Oregon ($700,000).
23. Studying methamphetamines and the female rat’s sex drive in Maryland ($30,000).
24. Studying social networks, such as Facebook, in North Carolina ($498,000).
And last, but certainly not least:
25. Grant for one Massachusetts university for ‘robobees’ (miniature flying robot bees) ($2 million).
This is only a small sampling of the ways in which government is wasting OUR TAX DOLLARS. It’s estimated that the yearly amount of waste for most Federal and State programs is 3 times that collected each year by the I.R.S.
If you think your blood pressure can handle more, just ‘Google’ ‘Wasteful Government Spending.’
We all remember the failed investment of OUR TAX DOLLARS into the ‘Green’ energy company Solyndra. Rather than staking their own money on prototypes, the way it used to be done, Solydra lobbied for the money, and the government dumped OUR TAX DOLLARS into a failed program. Certainly NOT the first time that’s happened.
Government, as related to managing and regulating, has failed, as the above list indicates. Therefore, should we continue to pump in our hard-earned dollars to a collection of ‘out-of-touch-with-the-average-American’ over-spenders that have demonstrated that they’re efficient at little more than wasting OUR TAX DOLLARS?
The system needs change, and that change needs to begin rather quickly. Far too many Americans are paying far too much of their earnings into wasteful programs like those cited above. Without the waste, we could afford quality healthcare for every American citizen. We could end poverty, institute jobs programs that worked, and end unemployment. We would never have to worry about taking away Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs that truly help our fellow Americans. We could do it, if only Washington would quit wasting OUR TAX DOLLARS!
Maybe a tax revolt is just what’s called for here. Maybe it’s time, come April 15th, that more of us say to our greedy, inefficient Uncle “I don’t like how you’re wasting my money, so I’m not giving you any more.”
If just 1 percent of those Americans having to pay income tax this year did that, the ‘Representatives of the People’ would sit up and take notice. After all, their inflated salaries are paid for with OUR TAX DOLLARS.
Maybe it’s time to defund some of these ridiculous programs that do nothing but waste, and hand out pink slips to those that push them through. We, the People, are the ones that government is supposed to work for. It looks to me like they’re doing little more than ‘Riding the Clock’ and wasting OUR TAX DOLLARS!