Friday, December 27, 2013

Retro Post: Wasteful Government Spending, Part 2: $1.2 TRILLION Worth Of Stupid Govenrment Expenses

For the next several post we will be representing some of our most popular posts form the past as they related to wasteful government spending. Since any of these posts were written, the national debt of the federal government has grown to an unimaginable $17 TRILLION. This is over a $50,000 debt burden for every man, woman, and child in the country.

We are revisiting these posts now to once again prove how careless and stupid the Washington political class is with our hard earned wealth and to show what a disgrace the latest Congressional budget agreement is. We will delve into the details of this insult to the American taxpayer next month. The budget agreement promises to reduce annual Federal government spending by tens of billions of dollars in the future years while we really need to reduce spending by trillions of dollars over the coming years. Failure to do so will eventually lead to the collapse of our financial system, our way of life and our democracy.

Reducing wasteful spending in the name of reducing the national debt burden is not hard. We have showed how to that dozens of times. We have come up with a plan that would reduce Federal government spending by $9 TRILLION of ten years. 

However, the concept of living within your means and running a fiscally prudent, non-wasteful government seems to be a lost concept on politicians in Washington. That is why over the next few days we will restart the education process of how to get rid of wasteful government spending without creating hardships for the majority of Americans.

Today’s post is interesting because it compiles a mind boggling $1.2 TRILLION worth of Federal government spneidng over the past dozen years or so that was spent on the most inane and stupid programs and projects yoou can imagine. These programs and projects have nothing do to with national defense, health care, pubic education, or any other topic of interest and concern to Americans today. For lack of a better word, they were $1.2 TRILLION worth of tax wealth spent on stupidity.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wasteful Government Spending Week - A Historical Perspective 

This week we have diligently been going through all types of government waste from all corners of the Federal bureaucracy. We discussed the $80 million wasted on an unused State Department consulate in Afghanistan, $184 million of wasted airport security equipment purchases that are likely to never be used, over $3 billion wasted on failed green energy companies, etc. 

Today, we will take a more historical perspective. The following Federal government spending instances go back over the past three decades or so. They come to us today courtesy of the website, I do not know if all of this information is correct but since I recognize many of these unnecessary expenses from other research I have done, it would not surprise me that these are actual, and unneeded, previous random wasteful spending examples.

All of the examples come from:

Other examples of unneeded spending by the political class at our website:

You can actually visit that website and vote on whether the forty or so expenditures were worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars. So far, those that have voted have overwhelmingly rejected the notion that these are worthy of taxpayer wealth.

The very sad part about today's waste is that it comes out to over $1.2 TRILLION worth of misused taxpayer wealth. Over a roughly thirty year period, this waste averages out to about $60 billion a year, or about $348 a year for every current American household. Imagine how much more robust our economy would be if every household had an extra $348 or so each year to spend, rather than have it wasted on the idiotic expenditures listed below.

The cumulative running total of government waste as identified by the website:


The National Institutes of Health spent more than $400,000 in taxpayer money by paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk -- and just what can be done about it.

The U.S. government spent $2.6 million to make sure prostitutes in China consume less alcohol while working. As part of the five-year study that the National Institutes of Health bankrolled, researchers are visiting more than 100 houses of prostitution to monitor their employees, designated as FSWs, or female sex workers.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a study on the use of ecstasy, LSD and other “party drugs” in Porto Alegre, Brazil. To do this, U.S. taxpayers will invest $117,876 for the three-year study, conducted by researchers from the University of Delaware, who will work in collaboration with researchers from Brazil's Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Federal employees wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period in business- or first-class airline tickets bought in violation of travel policies, Congressional investigators say.

It looks like Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is going to get his wish – $2 million in taxpayer funding for a library commemorating his 37 years in the House of Representatives. The Charles B. Rangel Center for Public service will serve as a repository for his "papers," and the Congressman will have his own office in the Harlem complex.

The earned income tax credit (EITC) provides $31 billion in refundable tax credits to 19 million low-income families. The IRS estimates that $8.5 billion to $9.9 billion of this amount—nearly one-third—is wasted in overpayments.

A recent audit revealed that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department purchased and then left unused approximately 270,000 commercial airline tickets at a total cost of $100 million.

Since World War II, the U.S. has spent $1.2 trillion on foreign aid to 70 countries – and all are worse off than they were in 1980, according to the U.N.

For the Department of Commerce for giving the City and County of Honolulu $28,600 in 1981 to study how they could spend another $250,000 for a good surfing beach. 

For the Health Care Financing Administration for Medicaid payments to psychiatrists for unscheduled, coincidental meetings with patients who were attending basketball games, sitting on stoops, etc. -- the cost of which was between $40 and $80 million from 1981 to 1984. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities for a $25,000 grant in 1977 to study why people cheat, lie and act rudely on local Virginia tennis courts. 

The Office of Education for spending $219,592 in 1978 to develop a curriculum to teach college students how to watch television. 

The Environmental Protection Agency for spending an extra $1 million to $1.2 million in 1980 to preserve a Trenton, NJ sewer as a historical monument. 

In 2005 - $469,000 for the National Wildlife Turkey Federation in South Carolina.

In 2005 - $100,000 for the Punxsatawny Weather Discovery Center Museum.

In 2005 - $350,000 for the Inner Harmony Foundation and Wellness Center in Scranton, Penn. 

In 2005 - $1,430,000 for various Halls of Fame, including $250,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., and $70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis.

Medicare, the U.S. health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled, erroneously paid out $19.9 billion during fiscal 2004, up from $19.6 billion a year earlier, because of mistakes, waste and fraud, a government report said. In most cases, hospitals and doctors billed for medically unnecessary services or didn't provide proper documentation to support the fees for services.

The GAO estimated that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department spent an estimated $100 million for airline tickets that were not used over a six-year period and failed to seek refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable.

While Andrew Cuomo was HUD Secretary under Bill Clinton, the agency set up a "Creative Wellness" program that spent $1,100,000 million taxpayer dollars on “gem” bags and taught public tenants to burn incense. 

The study, titled "Status/Dominance and Motivational Effects on Nonverbal Sensitivity and Smiling," attempts to find out if it's really true that women smile more than men, and if people of higher status smile less. Judith Hall, a highly respected researcher at Northeastern University in Boston, is conducting the smile study — and it is not her first. Since 1993, she has been awarded more than $500,000.

A National Science Foundation study looking at whether White House reporters have become more adversarial sounds a bit strange to reporters and critics. Even more surprising: the study cost taxpayers $180,000. 

In 2001 more than $600,000 in tax money was spent on researching the sex lives of South African ground squirrels.

The head of the IRS sent out a notice to every person advising them that they would be receiving a tax refund in 2001 - the estimated cost $30,000,000.

In 1998 more than $800,000 was approved for a coal library in Pennsylvania. Defenders stated that it would provide historical insight into a very important part of Pennsylvania and history. 

In 2001 the U.S.. Government gave $5,000,000 to the University of Alaska, North Pacific University, and the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation to fund the "stellar sea lion recovery plan." 

In the year 2001, Congress appropriated $340,000,000 in federal tax dollars to PBS (Public Broadcasting Services).

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for a Mississippi research project on "manure handling and disposal". 

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,500,000 million to promote silk production in Laos.

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1 ,000,000 for the "eradication of Brown Tree Snakes" (Hawaii). 

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,000,000 to "develop and train Alaska natives for employment in the petroleum industry."

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for water taxis in Savannah (Georgia).

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $200,000 for a transit center for the Toledo Mud Hens minor league baseball team.

In 1999 $1,200,000 million to subsidize a park on the Galapagos Islands.

In 2000 the U.S. government spent $100,000 to study the causes of sediment buildup at a Santa Cruz, New Mexico dam.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $50,000 for a tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo, California.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $400,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute to improve the profitability of the state's sheep industry.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $273,000 for the Blue Springs (Missouri) Youth Orchestra Outreach Unit for educational training to combat Goth culture.

In 2003 the U.S. government spent $1,000,000 appropriation for the Center for Public Service and the Common Good (a think tank) at the University of San Francisco. 

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $400,000 for manure management research at the National Swine Research Center.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,100,000 for the Mountain Made Foundation in Thomas, West Virginia for business development and the education of artists and craftspeople.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $4,000,000 to implement the forest and fish report of the Washington State.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for exhibits on the Sullivan brothers at the Grout Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $61,000 for the State Historical Society to archive the history of Iowa workers. 

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,200,000 for the Ohio Arts Council to expand international programs.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,900,000 for the Mountaineer Doctor Television program at West Virginia University.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,000,000 for an educational mall at the Raleigh County Commission in Beckley.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,000,000 for West Virginia University to establish a Center on Obesity.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $260,000 for asparagus technology in the state of Washington.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,200,000 for music education at the GRAMMY Foundation.

In 2000 the U.S. government spent $50,000 for the development of a Welcome Center Facility City for Enumclaw, Washington.

In 1997 - $4,000,000 for the Gambling Impact Study Commission.

In 1997 - $330,000 for Stellar Sea Lion research of the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Consortium.

In 1997 - $785,000 for bluefish/striped bass research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In 1997 - $2,700,000 added by the Senate for the Animal Resource Wing at South Dakota State University.

In 1997 - $4,000,000 added in conference for the Discovery Center of Science and Technology.

In 1997 - $19,600,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland, a program that tries to aid the peace process in Ireland by paying for golf videos, pony trekking centers, and sweater exports.

In 1997 - $16,369,000 added by the Senate for public library construction. 

In 1997 - $9,469,000 added in conference for Migrant Education programs including: $7,441,000 for the High School Equivalency Program; and $2,028,000 for the College Assistance Migrant Program.

In 1997 - $3,100,000 added by the Senate for the National Writing Project.

In 1997 - $8,200,000 for a new classroom building at the Rowley Secret Service Training Center in Beltsville, Maryland, which is the district of House Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations subcommittee member Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and the state of Senate appropriator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.). 

In 1998 - $220,000 added by the Senate for lowbush blueberry research in Maine. 

In 1994 - $221,000 for lowbush blueberry research at the University of Maine in the state of Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME). 

In 1998 - $150,000 added by the House for the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness.

In 1998 - $127,000 added by the Senate for global marketing support services in the state of Senate appropriator Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.). According to testimony, the goal of this research is to identify “potential foreign markets for Arkansas products….”

In 1998 - $32,000 added by the Senate for the Center for Rural Studies in the state of Senate appropriator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). A portion of this grant money is used for analytical reports to guide the development of Vermont retail shopping areas.

In 1998 - $500,000 added by the House in the district of House appropriator Richard Durbin (D-IL) for the construction at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois, of Charles Corneau’s house, a neighbor and friend of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1998 - $10,912,000 added by the Senate for foreign language assistance.

In 1994 - $200,000 for locoweed research at New Mexico State University in the state of House appropriator Joe Skeen (R-NM). Since 1992, $716,000 has been appropriated, and there is no expected completion date for this research.

In 1994 - $1,000,000 added in the Senate for the Multispecies Aquaculture Center in the state of Senate appropriator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

In 1994 - $19,600,000 added in the House for the International Fund for Ireland. The conference report “restores language stricken by the Senate and appropriates up to $19,600,000 for the International Fund for Ireland.” In the past, this program has used American taxpayer dollars for a golf video and pony trekking centers.

In 1993 - $19,704,000 for the International Fund for Ireland requested, according to committee sources, by House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-WA).

In 1993 - $9,170,000 added in conference for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission in the district of House appropriator John Murtha (D-PA).

In 1992 - $2,000,000 added in conference by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for a New York Bight Center for undersea research.

$1.2 TRILLION spent with very little societal benefit to show for it except the ability of incumbent politicians to use taxpayer money to fund their continual reelection.

What a shameful waste. A few observations and suggestions come to mind:
  • When the Statue of Liberty was badly in need of refurbishment back in the 1970s, no taxpayer money was used to fix it up. It was all financed by citizen and corporate donations. Going forward, the political class should not be able to allocate any money for local projects like the dozens listed above unless that project was more important than the Statue Of Liberty, one of the shining examples of liberty of our country. Thus, if this rule was in place, no Federal taxpayer money would ever be wasted on bike trails, repurposed cabooses, etc. since none of those projects are more worthy of government financing than the Statue of Liberty.
  • Step 44 from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" should also be deployed to eliminate the trillion dollars of wasteful spending highlighted above. Step 44 would not allow any Federal money to be used on any project unless that project had a substantial impact on a significant number of citizens from at least five states. For example, Federal money would continue to be used to support Amtrak since that affects many states and many states' citizens across the country, However, under Step 44's criteria, no Federal dollars would ever be used again to build a local river trail, build a local farmers' market, etc., since these types of projects should all be handled with instate tax dollars.
  • And our favorite step from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" also comes into play here. Step 39 would impose term limits on all Federal politicians, "one and done," Many of the above examples of wasteful spending are done by incumbent politicians to show the back home voters how they can get Federal dollars flowing back to their states and Congressional districts, no matter how stupid the projects being funded are. If incumbents knew that they had no chance of being reelected due to term limits, the need to funnel money back home to support their reelection chances goes away.
Most Americans recognize the insanity of wasting their tax dollars on these types of programs and projects. It makes you wonder why the political class does not see it the same way.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

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