Pork Barrel, and Other Wasted Tax Dollars
The demand you put forth may have nothing to do with the bill, but it will make people in your district happy and they will want to vote for you again. The writers of the bill who are desperate to get their bill passed will give in and add it on to the bill. How thoughtful of Americans to be so selfish as to demand that the rest of the U.S. pay for their wants and needs. I am being sarcastic because indeed, there is nothing thoughtful about it. This can and should be done differently and not be burdening the rest of the country. Supposedly, there is now a ban on earmarks but it is still being pushed from beneath the surface even though the ban is still there.
Citizens Against Government Waste has outlined seven criteria by which spending can be classified as "pork." To meet the requirements as an earmark, a project must meet at least one of the following, but most satisfy at least two:
Requested by only one chamber of Congress
Not specifically authorized
Not competitively awarded
Not requested by the President
Greatly exceeds the President's budget request or the previous year's funding
Not the subject of Congressional hearings
Serves only a local or special interest.
Our federal government wastes most of our taxpayer dollars because they make poor and or fraudulent spending decisions.
So, here are some structural reasons for federal waste. One is the government being so huge. The spending is too much for auditors and committees that oversee to keep track of. Thus there is susceptibility to waste, fraud, and a host of other inefficiencies. Another reason is there is no incentive to make a profit because most government agencies are monopolies and thus they are not motivated to try and run efficiently. There are also no losses as once the government undertakes something it pretty well stays and stays and stays.
The government agencies are not open to outside feedback and thus learn nothing which makes them open to failure. Bad workers are not fired and are rewarded the same as good workers thus, many good workers leave and the bad ones stay on and on. So there is little firing of the bad workers because of union protection and strong civil service.
Federal programs are loaded with rules and regulations. This reduces operational efficiency and one reason for all these rules is to prevent corruption and fraud. These are a concern because the government hands out so many contracts and subsidies. Perhaps the government should cut down on all these contracts and subsidies.
Another factor for federal waste is the number of layers, or ranks by title. This has caused a typical chain reaction that has pushed the typical federal agency to jump from 7 to 18 since the 1960's. It stands to reason that today’s “over-layered chain of command” in the government is a major cause of failure because it makes information flow harder to deal with anyone who is failing at their job.
These are just a few reasons why our government is wasting money or our taxpayer dollars to be exact.
Federal debt is piling up and spending is expected to soar in coming years. We will have rivers of red ink unless policymakers demand and put reforms into place. The main problem is rapid growth in the major entitlement programs and federal policymakers should tackle waste in every department which would help solve our fiscal challenges.
Now the earmark opponents, who had been fighting a losing battle for years felt that the bridge was a gift from heaven because it started a crusade and the bridge got a title....The Bridge to Nowhere; I should like to send our politicians to Nowhereville!
This was an example of the worst of Washington waste. The sad part is that Alaska got to keep all of the more money which amounted to $300 million secured by Senators Young and Ted Stevens. Most of the money earmarked for the bridge has been spent on other state projects, but some $87.8 million remains in a fund, unused. They need to give it back.
In 1822, President James Monroe argued that federal money should be limited “to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.” Looking at this article I wrote and other articles I have googled, I can say that he was absolutely correct.
Speaking of which the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency channeled some $11 million to psychics who they thought might provide special insights about various foreign threats. This was the called the “Stargate” program and turned out to be quite disappointing. If you think that is bad here are two more wasteful programs.
250,000 children qualify for SSI checks because they can’t participate in “age appropriate activities.” Excuse me!! I don't think that playing tag, dodge ball, baseball, jump rope should be that expensive. Those are activities for certain ages and if it comes to baseball, etc. you know there are many people that will help or donate to sports. If it is for children with disabilities then again, there are volunteers and private programs for children with special needs. I believe they should be helped but not through SSI.
Worse yet, thousands of prisoners get SSI checks relating to their alleged disabilities—costing taxpayers about $20 million a year. I am sure with all the sympathizers for those in prisons there would be donations of crutches, wheelchairs and things along that line. If there is not, then there are a lot of hypocrites in the bleeding heart world. If they want those things for the prisoners then it is time to put your money where your mouth is.
Below is a video that shows the shrimp treadmill research which cost the taxpayer more than $3 million over the course of a decade. The National Science Foundation who were behind this study is a federal agency created by our Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" Ah, and here I thought it was about those poor over exercised shrimp; silly me. Personally, I call it arthropod abuse, and if you look at the poor thing trying, it appears to me to escape, you would feel sympathy for it; "Just a Shrimp and His Will to Survive!"
But least I forget the NSF has also funded the How Do Rumors Get Started? To answer the question, NSF has spent nearly $1 million to study "rumor propagation." I would lay odds the Shrimp did it in retaliation for being forced to run on the treadmill. I am being sarcastic of course, but I always thought rumors came from someone telling someone else about what they knew or were privy to about a third party.
For their budget of about $6.9 billion in the fiscal year of 2010, this agency generously funded approximately a fifth of all federally supported basic research that was conducted by our colleges and universities. Considering the few examples I give and all that can be googled, we are slowly being spent into oblivion. They take our tax dollars and spend it on unproductive things and programs. This is not the way to fix the economy; not many bright bulbs in D.C.
One shining example of mismangement is that the U.S. Marshals Service "wasted $2 million on “swag” gifts, like golf balls, mini-footballs, police-car-shaped stress toys, golf towels, and poker chips in order to build cooperation and camaraderie within the office". I want gifts; how come I don't get any. Oh yes, I am not part of the U.S. Marshals Service.
As for corporate welfare, I will give a couple examples...
One coffee plantation in Hawaii received a $25,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture to use solar power to dry coffee beans. Of course coffee bean farmers have been using the sun, in different ways to dry their beans for centuries!
In an attempt to create more jobs in butterfly farming (and I had no clue we were trying to create more jobs in this area) the Department of Agriculture granted $500,000 to the Euchee Butterfly Farm whose job it is to train Native American members of the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town in butterfly farming. Butterfly farming?
Just quit spraying butterflies with toxic sprays and poisons, the places they go and their food such as Milkweed that monarch's eat. Nature will do it's job thank-you very much!
I question many of the governments research ideas in general. Apparently, in order to understand whether gay men in Peru test positive for syphilis after treatment due to treatment failure or re-infection, the National Institutes of Health spent $330,000. This money was to study the lifestyle and health of men who have sex with men and transgender persons in Peru; wonderful, we have enough transgender issues here without worrying about Peru. Do I give two hoots about Peru and their problems with syphilis or their sex lives. No, I don't! Let their own government take care of it's own problems.
Next is this gem about urine. The Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program has awarded a $15,000 grant to the Rich Earth Institute in Vermont. This Rich Earth Institute specializes in using human urine as fertilizer. This specific grant was to study if human urine could be a fertilizer for hay fields. There is of course, plenty of cow urine, sheep urine and misc. other animals. But hey, if any of you want to pee in Farmer John's field in order to help him out, feel free to drive out to the farm, pull your pants down and pee. When you get arrested for indecent exposure just explain that you are fertilizing his farm for free!