Congress Simply Can’t Resist Pork Spending

Bales of MoneyToday, the House passed the massive new Farm Bill with the Senate expected to pass this monstrosity in the next several days. After almost two years of hearings, negotiations and horse trading the current bill is almost the same as past bills. It’s good to be a farmer.

Let’s take a look at the current bill. The Farm Bill consists of two unequal components: food stamps and farm programs. Nearly 80% of the cost is devoted to food stamps. Early on the House split to two parts into separate bills but they didn’t stay divided for long.

Ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Thad Cochran (R–MS) explained farm bill politics well when he argued that the farm bill includes food stamps “purely from a political perspective” since “it helps get the farm bill passed.”

The House wanted to cut food stamp spending by $39 billion over 10 years.  The Senate bill would have reduced spending by $4 billion. It appears that the Senate’s big spenders won with a cut of a mere $8 billion in the current bill.

Within the food stamp portion of the bill any attempt at means-testing was removed. You could have a million dollars in the bank and still receive food stamps. To its credit, the House did close the loophole in its bill.  Then, their negotiators folded when it came to the conference bill.  If this loophole had been closed, taxpayers would have saved about $12 billion.

The Farm Bill has no work requirement for recipients. The work provision in the bill is nothing more than a mere work “suggestion.” A strong work requirement is the most crucial reform for food stamps, but Congress has failed to include such a policy.

Here’s where it gets really great to be a farmer. The current bill attempts to remove all of the risk from farming. The crop insurance portion of the bill was untouched with the American taxpayers paying 62% of the cost.

Even a minor reform in the Senate version that lowered the subsidy for farmers with adjusted gross income of $750,000 or more was removed. The new bill actually increases costs by about $6 billion.

Once again Big Sugar came through unscathed. Sugarcane and sugar beet processors can receive loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They can pay back the loan, or they can just forfeit their sugar to the government instead. This gives them the ability to avoid paying off the loans if market prices fail to cover their costs. Nice work if you can get it.

Another part of the crop insurance program subjects the American taxpayers to near limitless liability. At one time there was a price ceiling on liabilities, limiting the exposure that taxpayers would have to pay out for these unknown and costly programs.

The new bill doesn’t appear to have such a cost cap—basically, taxpayers are faced with a blank check while farmers are being covered for virtually any risk.

The Department of Agriculture will also be establishing new federal standards for “the identity of honey.” Apparently even bees are helpless without the federal government.

Finally, two egregious programs were either left out of the Farm Bill. One was the repeal of the controversial and duplicative catfish inspection program that costs the taxpayers $14 million a year.

The other program that was included was the mandatory assessment (i.e. “tax”) on Christmas trees. It creates a National Christmas Tree Board, funded through a 15-cent tax on every Christmas tree sold.What’s next, taxing Santa Claus’ visits?

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Great Moments in Wasteful Spending

Do what I sayToday, we’re going to look at some of the great moments in wasteful spending that our government inflicts on its taxpayers. Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up.

According to Townhall.com HHS will spend up to $8 billion to promote ObamaCare. In Section 4402 of the bill the staggering amounts of money are detailed. In 2010 it is $500 million, in 2011, $750 million, 2012, $1 billion, 2013, $1.25 billion, 2014, $1.5 billion and in 2015 and on, $2 billion per year.

The Affordable Care Act actually reads like an open-ended invitation for a constant stream of propaganda that will indoctrinate the American people on a constant basis.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund will provide for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs.

The media blitz started when funds were given to media companies like NBC, The Washington Post, Reuters, and CBS along with journalist symposiums.

Propaganda is currently being woven into the storylines of television shows like Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy along with other popular shows.

Commercial ads are being taken out as well to tout the fabulous law that is ObamaCare! There is even word around town that TV executives are toying with creating a reality show around a family who has no health care!

Fortunately, the website roll out and the subsequent “you can keep your plan” lies have poisoned the American people’s perception of this intrusive law. With fewer than anticipated young people signing on the future of ObamaCare is in jeopardy.

Now, let’s move on to some government spending that defies belief. The New York Post in a a story this week reported that the National Institutes of Health will spend $224,863 to test 95 “custom-fitted” condoms so every American man can choose the one that fits just right.

The six-figure grant was awarded to TheyFit of Covington, Ga., which offers a wide variety of condoms that vary in length — from a bit more than 3 inches to nearly 9 ¹/₂ — and in width. They’re available in European Union countries, but not in the United States, where they would have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

This study matches up well with another one on the same subject. In 2009, the very same National Institutes of Health awarded a research grant to Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for $423,500 for the study about why “young, heterosexual adult men” have problems using condoms. The study will include “skill-based intervention” to teach grown men how to use protection. You simply can’t make this stuff up.

While we’re discussing government activity bordering on the ridiculous, let’s look at the NIH grants of $402,721 involving underwear that can detect when a person smokes cigarettes.

The goal of the three-year study is to “develop a wearable sensor system comprised of a breathing sensor integrated into conventional underwear.” People with any degree of sense must ask the question: “Why is the government involved in this?”

Finally, we have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency that is filled with bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than fill up rule books with unnecessary regulations.

In 2010, Gary Heffernan, a 35-year veteran of the tuckpointing(masonry repair) business, had run-in with an inspector from OSHA. The inspector wrote up Heffernan with thousands of dollars in fines, though no one had been injured and the business’s only other employee, Heffernan’s nephew, had not complained.

The violations included letting the nephew work on a chimney without posted warnings of the toxic dangers of sand.

The bureaucrats are clearly running amok under the Obama administration. With so many agencies, administrations and departments issuing new regulations on a daily, almost hourly, basis it is impossible for us to keep up.

The result: American businesses are sinking into a quicksand bog of costly and restrictive rules and regulations.

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ObamaCare is the Biggest Insurance Scam in History

NobamaCareBarack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is turning into the biggest insurance scam in American history. ObamaCare was supposed to insure the uninsurable and those that could not afford insurance.

Instead, we are now seeing an unfolding disaster across America. The insurance companies who were supposed to benefit with increasing levels of customers helped to write the law. What a conflict of interest.

They have also influenced the writing of the regulations. As a further insult to the American taxpayers, they have received waivers exempting them from provisions in the law.

And if a sufficient number of young and healthy Americans don’t choose to take part in this scam, the insurance companies will have the benefit of a government bailout. Remember, they wrote the law and the subsequent rules.

Vast amounts of money are being sucked out of the bank accounts of ordinary Americans and into those of the insurance companies. In return, the insured are getting less for more. They have less in the way of plans to choose from, less doctors to choose from and less hospitals. People will die because Obama lied.

Instead, they will get more expensive plans with higher premium and astronomical out of pocket expenses. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently spoke about one of his constituents who had a $12,000 deductible. In Rubio’s words: “He has no insurance.”

Why would anyone pay $500 to $1,000 a month with a deductible that ranges from $6,000 to $12,000 to simply say that they’re insured. The only parties that benefit from this scam are the government and the insurance companies.

The government sees ObamaCare as a means of controlling Americans. The insurance carriers have a simpler goal: unending profits.

Meanwhile, the media is focusing only on the website and its seemingly never-ending problems. Meanwhile, the pockets of every taxpayer in America is being picked by skilled professional: the bureaucrats and the their accomplices, the insurance executives.

The fact is that this was so unnecessary. Wouldn’t it have been far easier to enroll those who could not afford regular insurance on Medicaid? Of course, instead of pillaging hundreds of millions from Medicaid we could have insured that doctors and hospitals were paid a fair sum for their services.

The major gripe that health care providers have with Medicaid are the low reimbursement rates and the huge volume of paperwork that HHS requires. Instead of spending hundreds of billions on a non-functioning website that money could have been used to improve Medicaid.

Barack Obama’s command and control system is fated to fail. In fact, it’s failing now with low enrollments, the majority of whom are major consumers of services.

By the time we put paid to this disaster the American taxpayers may be on the hook for a trillion dollars or more. But Barack Obama will be out of office and earning megabucks with speeches and books.

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Top 10 Examples of Government Waste in 2013

Here’s post by  and  at The Foundry at http://blog.heritage.org with the top 10 examples of government waste in 2013.

The latest budget deal, passed by a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate, suggests that Washington agrees with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) when shesaid that “the cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make.”

The cupboard, however, is overflowing with liquor, crystal glassware, and more.

Here is our list of the top 10 examples of wasteful government spending this year, serving as a reminder that there is no shortage of excessive spending in Washington.

10. Outhouse in Alaska: $98,670. The Interior Department spent nearly $100,000 to install an outhouse on an Alaskan trail, which includes a single toilet with no internal plumbing.

Outhouse

9. A bus stop with heated pavement for the Washington area$1 million. A lavish bus stop with heated pavement was built in Arlington, VA, but it has failed to keep commuters warm or dry.

bus stop

8. Grant for a pole dancing performance$10,000. Utility poles, that is. The National Endowment for the Arts provided a grant to PowerUP for Austin Energy employees to perform an artsy dance with 20 utility poles, accompanied by a live orchestra.

PoleDancing

7. Pizza — from a printer$124,995. NASA gave a six-figure grant to a company that aspires to make pizza from a 3-D printer.

pizza

6. Study to find out if couples are happier when the woman calms down after argument:$335,525. “[M]arriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict,” found a study of 81 couples funded by the National Institutes of Health.

happy couple

5. Booze and crystal for the State Department$5.4 million. The State Department went on a bender the week before the government shutdown, purchasing $5 million of “exquisite”crystal glassware to presumably drink the $400,000 in booze they purchased in 2013.

booze

4. Monitoring depression on Twitter$82,000. The National Institutes of Health is funding a study “to use Twitter for surveillance on depressed people,” according to the Free Beacon.

Social Network - Twitter

3. Seven-figure stack of rocks at the London Embassy$1 million. The American Embassy in London will be receiving a granite sculpture from an artist “whose work resembles stacked piles of paving stones,” according to the Daily Mail.

stones

2. Artwork for Veterans Affairs offices$562,000. The Department of Veterans Affairs went on a spending spree during “use it or lose it” season, purchasing over half a million in artwork and millions in furniture in a single week.

furniture

1. Government employee trip to luxury hotel in the Caribbeanpriceless. Federal employees took a taxpayer-funded trip to the Buccaneer Hotel in St. Croix—the same hotel made famous on TV’s “The Bachelor.” The bill was divided among a number of agencies, making a final tally difficult to come by.

Scenes Of St. Croix

Honorable Mention

A Super Bowl champion Obamacare campaign: $130,000. The Baltimore Ravens were paid$130,000 in taxpayer money to sponsor the Affordable Care Act.

President Barack Obama honors the Ravens

An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Americans thinks that Congress can find more ways to cut government spending, and there are numerous programs of questionable value that Congress should eliminate.

America did not end up $17 trillion in debt overnight. Congressional refusal to cut spending and prioritize taxpayer money more appropriately year after year got the nation to this point. Congress will have another opportunity before January 15, when considering the 2014 spending bill, to do better. Fiscal restraint is long overdue.

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Obama’s Massive Cleantech Bust

Solyndra AuctionBarack Obama came into office promising to change the face of America’s energy future with the use of Cleantech. He told us that we would be on the cutting of new energy technology, dubbed Cleantech by the media.

Then the Obama administration went out and committed $150 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks to the new technology. Many of the company names may not be familiar to most Americans: Abound Energy, Beacon Power, Fisker, V.P.G., Range Fuels, Ener1, A123 and ECOtality.

However, these companies received an ocean of cash from our government in the hope that they could benefit the American people. But instead of a brave new world of clean energy technology the American taxpayers got a bunch of bankruptcies scattered across the energy technology landscape.

We had Solyndra, the text book case on how not to build a company. Solyndra received over half a billion dollars in loans for a product that was undercut by Chinese competition in short order. They were soon in bankruptcy.

Other technology companies like LG Chem built facilities and ramped up production when there was no market for their products. The plant was built with $151 million from the stimulus to make batteries for electric cars that people never bought.

The American taxpayers gave half a billion in loan guarantees to Fisker, an electric car startup who promised to build their plant in Delaware. The plant was never built and Fisker is now bankrupt.

We all know that new technology investments can be risky and problematic. How many times did Thomas Edison fail to make a working light bulb? Edison tried over 10,000 different substances in making the filament of an incandescent lightbulb until he found one material that worked and was economical.

The Obama Cleantech failures are understandable in the light of progress but a different picture has emerged as people have dug deeper into the companies that were involved.

Many of the investors who were involved were Obama campaign contributors. They traded campaign contributions for government subsidies, loans and grants. Solyndra was a prime example. We’ve written about it here, here and here.

They essentially took the money and ran. And if they couldn’t run they got huge tax write-offs for their personal losses. Meanwhile, the government continues to dole out cash in a hope that something positive will come out of the avalanche of cash.

Well, some benefit seems to have come out of the Energy Department’s largesse. With the increasing availability of natural gas, more and more Cleantech companies went bankrupt where they bought up by the opportunistic Chinese at fire sale prices.

One such company is Wanxiang and its opportunistic CEO Pin Ni. They were able to buy six Cleantech companies so far, including A123, an electric car battery startup that lost over 130 million tax dollars.

Wanxiang currently has 27 plants in 13 states and some 6,000 American workers.  Pin Ni says every third car made in the U.S. has Wanxiang parts.

So what’s wrong with a Chinese company, or any foreign company, taking advantage of an opportunity that the American taxpayers originally financed and employing thousands of American workers? You decide.

 

 

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Top 10 moments of government waste from 2013

Let it Flow Government WasteHere’s a post by Dustin Hurst at http://watchdog.org with the top ten moments of government waste in 2013.

Governments across the lands waste millions and billions of your dollars each year, but some are better at bad spending than others.

LET IT FLOW: Government loves to spend your money.

Americans are completely used to this. The story of the $150 toilet seat or the $200 hammer no longer shocks the public, but instead serves as a reminder that government just doesn’t care about how it uses taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.

While most of the attention to waste rightly focuses on the binge-spenders inside the Beltway, Watchdog.org journalists have their keyboards trained on state capitals across the land. They find unusual and appalling stories of waste, fraud and abuse that other media outlets ignore.

So let’s take a peek at the top 10 examples of government waste from across the states in 2013:

10. Paying more for green

Taxpayers are footing the bill to green a federal building in Minnesota, and the tab isn’t cheap. “The Whipple project is costing as much as 40 percent more per square foot than a new office building, according to some critics, and we’re buying it,” wrote Minnesota’s Tom Steward earlier this year.

Read Steward’s full story here. 

9. Run it

Oregon just can’t leave well enough alone. That state set aside $50,000 to create a pilot project to see if buying walking desks for public workers would improve health outcomes.

Read Northwest Watchdog’s story about the walking desks here. 

8. Home, times two

What would you do with two luxury homes just blocks apart? That’s the pressing questions weighing on the shoulders of the Nebraska University president because of a little waste in the Cornhusker State. The university decided to buy its president a $750,000 mansion, even though he already owns one just blocks away.

Here’s Nebraska Watchdog’s story on the purchase. 

7. Netroots ninnies

Netroots Nation is a gathering of liberals from across the country. So why did two employees from a county in New Mexico use taxpayer money to attend the shindig?

Read here to find out. 

6. Cosmic car sale

Sure, car companies need to advertise, but do they really need to use taxpayer money to paint the roofs of their factories? Who are they trying to entice with that ad?

Tennessee Watchdog has that story. 

5. Let’s get paid

Times are still tight in Oklahoma, but some public employees don’t give a rip. At least 10 well-paid higher education employees received 5 percent raises this year, adding on to their six-figure salaries. Straight cash, homey.

Oklahoma Watchdog has the details. 

4. The cleanest bridge around

This is definitely one of the oddball stories on this list. This city in Nebraska wants to spend at least $600,000 to pigeon-proof a bridge. Think about that for a second. Officials want to take money from families and businesses to protect a bridge from bird poop.

Nebraska Watchdog has that story. 

3. Crime and public service pay

An ex-mayor gets sent to prison for smuggling guns. He serves his time and is released. Thanks to his public service, he has a never-ending income source when he hits the streets — his taxpayer-funded pension.

New Mexico Watchdog has more on that. 

2. No, really, crime pays

Room, board and income? Sounds pretty sweet, right? That’s essentially the deal some prisoners received. Wisconsin Reporter found that prisoners in that state received more than $600,000 in unemployment benefits while behind bars. Yikes.

Read more here. 

1. Common sense is dead

Scrubbing a welfare program’s rolls of the ineligible like a good idea, right? Maybe in the rest of the country, but Illinois just doesn’t play that way. After spending millions of dollars hiring investigators to audit the state’s Medicaid program and those investigators experiencing wild success, the state ended the evaluation and stopped purging people from the program. Because saving millions and millions of dollars each year just makes too much sense.

Illinois Watchdog has more on that here. 

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The TSA sends Christmas Greetings

TSA Latex Glove

Here’s an oldie but a goodie from last year. Needless to say conditions haven’t changed much with the TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration, better known as the TSA, has come under attack by the media and the general public since its very founding. It has provided the American public with both amusement and revulsion.

These two emotions are sometimes connected to the same incidents. Who will ever forget “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” The story became a national sensation with numerous passengers referring to their private parts as “junk.”

But the TSA will not be deterred and here we are once again at one of the busiest travel times of the year. Between the long security lines, patdowns and full body scans, American travelers are have their civil liberties violated every second.

In order to take a look at the lighter side of the TSA procedures here are are several videos that you’ll find amusing, as long as we don’t forget that the TSA has the powers of a secret police force.

This next one is an especially catchy tune that has its foundation in some truth. People have been forced to remove artificial limbs in order to pass through security.

Finally, we have a beautiful song that illustrates the abuse in a quick video appropriately titled “I’ll be groped for Christmas” by Roxi Copland.

So if you’re flying this holiday season, consider these videos as a warning about the TSA. Merry Christmas!

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The Bureaucrats Around Us

Americans are surrounded by a sea of bureaucrats. Under Barack Obama the size of the Federal government has grown exponentially with new bureaucrats, new laws and new regulations.

And the bureaucrats are being paid in some cases up to 40% than workers performing the same jobs in the private sector. But not all government bureaucrats work for the Federal government. Many of them are employed by state and local governments.

In California, a state that is flirting with bankruptcy, we have a number of cases of bureaucrat over-payment.

  • In 2010, it was reported by Bloomburg that in the mostly Hispanic city of Bell the bureaucrats were looting the city treasury. Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637. Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work.
  • In the same year cops in Oakland were making on the average $188,000 in salary and benefits.
  • A state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave.
  • A California bureaucrat was fired but he was able to collect $550,000 in “unused” vacation time. James C. Tudor Jr., the former president of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, took home more than $550,000 after he was fired in 2007 in the wake of an internal probe that “uncovered serious abuses at the highest levels.” 

Now, these are the most publicized cases of bureaucratic overreach but it’s the cases that are under the radar that will bankrupt America.

  • We have the case of the Philadelphia bureaucrat that worked for 2 1/2 years but will receive a city pension of $50,000 in exchange for a one-time payment to the pension fund of $122,303 to become vested in the pension plan. The loophole has now been closed but previous users will still receive their large pensions for short times on the city payroll.
  • We need look no farther than Congress to discover that members of Congress who serve at least five years receive a pension. In 2002, the average pension payment ranged from $41,000 to $55,000.

Here’s a video from Dan Mitchell at the Cato Institute that frames the problem better than I ever could.

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IRS still doing business with tax deadbeats

Lois LernerWho’s afraid of the taxman? Apparently, some of the vendors of IRS are not afraid of the nation’s taxman. A recent audit found that the IRS was owed about $589 million by 1,168 IRS vendors as of July 2012.

When the nation’s tax collector cannot even collect taxes that are owed by its own vendors, can their be any reason to believe that the very same agency will be able to collect ObamaCare penalties.

“When the IRS conducts business with vendors that do not comply with federal tax laws, it conveys a contradictory message in relation to its mission to ensure compliance with the tax laws,” said J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

According to the taxman, they check a vendor’s tax status when they award a contract but they don’t check their tax status continuously. George has recommended the IRS require an annual tax check for all contractors, but the agency says federal acquisition regulations don’t authorize them.

Defenders of the service claim that they don’t have a choice with who they do business with. The IRS must routinely pay fees to banks and other financial institutions when it orders them to turn over records about taxpayers, the report said.

The agency also has to pay filing fees to state and county governments to file tax liens. “Thus, even if these entities have unpaid tax debt, the IRS must still use their services,” the report said. The IRS said 863 of the delinquent vendors provided these types of services to the agency.

The IRS is allowed to withhold government payments to individuals and businesses that owe back taxes. However, the tax agency has only done this in a limited number of cases.

The whole sordid episode points out the double standard practiced by the IRS. If you were an organization that criticized Obama in any way then your tax exempt status may have been held up through two election cycles.

If you were a public figure then more than likely you were allowed to settle up with a minimum of public exposure. But if you were just an ordinary citizen then expect the hard hand of the IRS that pound you into paste.

Oh, and by the way, this agency has been tasked to enforce the purchase of health insurance under ObamaCare. Fat chance that they’ll be able to do a credible job chasing down health care scofflaws.

 

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Senator Tom Coburn’s 2013 Wastebook

2013 Waste BookSenator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released his latest version of the Wastebook. In it he cites a variety of wasteful spending that adds up to $30 billion. We should all be aware that this a mere fraction of government waste but Coburn’s cites these as among the most egregious.

“We’ve had the Defense Department and people in the other non-Defense discretionary departments screaming the cupboard is bare. There’s nothing else to cut. The fact is that just isn’t true,” Coburn told reporters as he unveiled the 2013 Wastebook on Tuesday.

In fact, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was moaning about having to cut to the bone Coburn found DoD is leaving 2,000 MRAP’s, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, behind in Afghanistan to be destroyed rather than delivered to other bases. Each of these vehicles cost $500,000 for a total of $1 billion in wasted assets.

The military has decided to simply destroy more than $7 billion worth of equipment rather than sell it or ship it back home. The DoD claims that the Afghans can’t maintain the equipment while cynics say that the defense industry would suffer if the equipment wasn’t destroyed.

Then we have the purchase of 21 C-27 transport planes manufactured in Italy over the protests of Defense DEpartment officials. We’ve written about this here. The taxpayers paid $631 million and the planes were never go operational. Half will be mothballed and the rest will be cut up for scrap. As Coburn said, “It doesn’t fit with common sense.”

But the Department of Defense wasn’t the only government department wasting money on a daily basis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut housing assistance for the disabled elderly while subsidizing thousands of risky mortgages, including more than 100 homes (that cost in excess of half- a-million dollars each) within walking distance of the ocean in Hawaii.

And while nutrition assistance was being reduced for many needy families, USDA was spending money on celebrity chef cooks-offs and running up the taxpayer tab on Bloody Mary’s, sweet potato vodka, and red wine tastings from here to China.

At least billions of dollars were paid to government employees for doing nothing during the government shutdown. In fact, the White House said that it cost at least $2 billion in back pay for furloughed workers.

While the National Guard was pinched due to the sequester with at least 8,000 National Guardsmen being dismissed the Pentagon is continuing to spend money on non-military services.

The Army National Guard teamed up with Superman on a $10 million “Soldier of Steel” promotional campaign, intended “to increase awareness and consideration of service opportunities in the National Guard.”

The recruitment ads dovetailed with the release of the Warner Bros. blockbuster movie, ‘Man of Steel,’” the latest Superman movie and, strangely enough, with a downsizing of the National Guard.
Then we have the various ‘what were they thinking’ expenses, all while the National Debt is $17 trillion and counting:

  • The National Endowment for Humanities has given $1 million to the Popular Romance Project since 2010  to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.” 
  • The State Department spent $630,000 to attract followers to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • NASA is spending $3 million to study how Congress works.
  • Through the tax code, Uncle Sam is assisting the operation of the legal brothels in Nevada to the tune of $17.5 million.
  • NASA spent $125,000 to study the making of pizza in outer space using a 3-D printer.
  • $50 million was used to fund National Technical Information Services, an agency that charges for reports that often can be found for free through a Google search.
  • The Army spent $297 for a Mega-Blimp that was intended for intelligence gathering in Afghanistan. It made one 90-minute flight over New Jersey and was sold back to the contractor for $301,000.

The list goes on with funding for “pole dancing” for utility workers, a bed-rest study, a comic superheroes documentary and Superstorm Sandy ads for tourism.

The question that members of Congress have to ask themselves is how they have allowed this to go on for so long.

 

 

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