Sunday, April 27, 2008
Nothing Surprises Me
I spent twenty-odd years working in an institution of higher education. One component of my responsibility was accepting doctoral dissertations and master's theses as a final degree requirement. In checking the formatting, etc, I was constantly amazed at the types of things people spent a good part of their life studying. While most seemed worthwhile and contributory to furthering mankind, there were some that totally escaped logic. I wish I could recall some of them verbatim, but that would probably only lead to a lawsuit I can ill afford.
It was then that I started questioning, of course only in my mind, why the government provides grants to fund such ridiculous research. I never got a satisfactory answer, but I recently stumbled upon a website that re-kindled my belief that our government throws money down the toilet every day. I offer the following examples of proof:
1. In 2002, in California, a congressperson asked for and received a $50,000 assistance program for tattoo removal.
2. In 2003, somewhere in Iowa, one of their elected representatives convinced the government to allocate $250,000 to establish a program to assist THREE-YEAR-OLDS to handle their anger management. I can't even get my five-year-old, slightly autistic grandson into a program aside from children with severe mental retardation. The school districts lump them all together so his peer group are people with disabilities that far exceed his own. I need some anger management but I don't qualify...I'm long past three.
3. In 2006, The National Wild Turkey Federation based in South Carolina received $234,000 from the feds to further their turkey hunting program. You've got to be friggin kidding me!!!
*The resource for the above information was found at askmen.com by Craig Mazin.
I borrowed the following from www.heritage.org and an entry on common sense cuts by Brian Riedl:
In 2001, the government buried $17 billion dollars for which there was no accountability. It was labeled "unreconciled transactions" and filed away. No one has any idea who spent the money or how. Good job, don't you think? Think we could do that with our tax returns. RIGHT!
More than $12 billion in Medicare payment errors were made this year, along with more than $1 billion in the food-stamp program. The department of Housing and Urban Development makes financial boo boos equaling ten percent of its total budget. I think it's time to hire some new bookkeepers.
Aha...I remember reading about the $400.00 the military was spending per hammer, along with lavish amounts on toilets, etc. Evidently the careless spending continues. According to Mr. Riedl, a recent audit showed that military personnel use travel cards allocated to them by the government to the tune of $293.000 for entertainment, gambling, cruises, strips clubs and prostitutes. Me thinks this isn't just the regular GI Joe having all the fun. Those poor, poor generals and admirals. Tsk, Tsk.
Someone please stop my head from spinning. We have people starving, children in need, middle class American families struggling to keep their homes, and these are listed as pork-barrel expenditures: $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia; $90,000 for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas; $273,000 to help Blue Springs, Mo., combat teenage "goth culture"; and $1 million for Birmingham, Ala., to build a statue of the Roman god Vulcan. Elimination of such frivolous causes could save billions.
Mr. Riedl also went on to explain Washingon's duplication of efforts: For example, there are 342 separate economic development programs, 130 programs serving the disabled, 130 programs serving at-risk youth, and 72 safe-water programs. This overlap not only wastes billions in administrative overhead, it confuses those needing federal assistance who must navigate through the morass of programs. What is wrong with this picture????
I had no idea there was such a thing as corporate welfare. $90 billion has been spent on a program that shouldn't even exist. To quote Mr. Riedl, "There's no justification for taxing waitresses and welders to subsidize Fortune 500 CEOs. Furthermore, most corporate welfare programs, such as the Advanced Technology Program, provide little or no economic value to justify their enormous costs." This just pissed me off more after seeing Bill Gates arguing with congress to issue more visas to bring in third world country people for him to employ at a cheaper rate. I suggested in another blog that he use some of the trillions he earned here in AMERICA to train and employ some of the over 80,000 who lost their jobs so far this year from countries going abroad.
The $200 billion per year saved by eliminating these ridiculous programs and expenditures would go a long way in restoring some faith in our government. Their show in good faith that the American public really does matter. If this frivolous waste continues, will our children have anything at all for their future? Most of us have tried to set up savings and insurance to provide for them, but as things continue to escalate to point that we live paycheck to paycheck, that good intention has fallen by the wayside in most households, I imagine. It has in ours.
I had to laugh when I heard John McCain's income tax disclosure the other day. He filed separately from his billionaire wife, claiming only his $400,000 plus. Included was the approximately $22,000 or so he received from Social Security. See, even he's getting his share before the government squanders it away.
What can we do? The people we trust and elect seem to be the very people who betray us. 'Drunk with power' seems to make a whole lot more sense to me these days. I want someone who's 'on the wagon.' With another election right around the corner, who will we send to the oval office that won't continue the tradition? I have no idea. I can't help think that those billions garnered for campaign contributions would go a long way toward cancer, aids, or other disease research. I'm trying to do my part by spreading the informed words of those in the know.
For the sake of brevity, I'm providing a link to show you some more of the ridiculous ways the government wastes your tax dollars. It's shocking:
Pork Barrel Spending
Note: Brian Riedl is the Grover M. Hermann Fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org), a Washington-based public policy institute.