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Government Waste

What Are You Doing with My Money?!

 
 

Read shocking examples of the nonsense the government wastes our money on and the outrageous sums involved.  It should make you angry enough and disgusted enough to take action now!   Use the "Contact" button on the left and demand they STOP

  • Wasteful Government Spending
  • "Earmarks," pet project spending, special interest spending
  • Spending as paybacks to lobbyists
  • Over-paying opportunistic price "gougers"
  • Spending that benefits a few rather than the common national good

Below the list of irresponsible spending there is more information and commentary.

Fact file- How is a 'pork' project defined?

Nonsense Spending List

Newt Gingrich:  Hastert Hears the Heartland: Enough With the Pork!

The Senate passed a $109-billion "emergency" spending bill last week. The word "emergency" is in quotation marks for a reason: The "emergencies" the pork-laden bill addresses include such items as $6 million to help sugar cane growers in Hawaii and $10 million to equip fishing boats with electronic logbooks.  All in all, the bill contains about $17 billion in pet projects. So House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) put his foot down. He called the bill "dead on arrival." And then Hastert decided to really speak his mind: "President Bush requested $92 billion for the War on Terror and some hurricane spending. The House used fiscal restraint, but now the Senate wants to come to the table with a tab that's $17 billion over budget. The House has no intention of joining in a spending spree at the expense of American taxpayers."

Porkers of the Month:  Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott--Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Mississippi Senators Thad Cochran (R) and Trent Lott (R) Porkers of the Month for adding $700 million for the “railroad to nowhere” to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2006 (H.R. 4929) which would use taxpayer funds to purchase and replace a private rail line with a highway benefiting Gulf Coast casinos. Read more Porker of the Month

Railroad to Nowhere by Chuck Muth
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, proposed an amendment late yesterday afternoon which would have stripped some $700 million out of the "emergency" appropriations bill.

Railroad To The Casinos - A $700 Million Boondoggle by Paul M. Weyrich
If you thought the "bridge to nowhere" was too expensive, take a look at the price tag of the "railroad to the casinos." The anticipated changing of a railroad route may not be a surefire route to riches for the citizens of Mississippi but it would be a straight flush for the casinos.  >> Read Full Column

Chuck Muth's News & Views
"Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), his wife and two top aides took a five-day trip to Spain in June 2004 that was paid for by a group of government contractors for whom Mollohan steered tens of millions of dollars in earmarked funds, according to travel records and other documents."

Mollohan, Contractor Bought 300-Acre Farm Together  Rep. Alan Mollohan last year bought a 300-acre farm with the head of a small defense contractor that had won a $2.1 million contract from funds that Mollohan added to a 2005 spending bill. The Wall Street Journal reports that the joint purchase of the farm "is the most direct tie yet disclosed between Rep. Mollohan and a beneficiary of the federal spending he has steered toward his home state. It raises new questions about possible conflicts of interest by Rep. Mollohan and his use of such spending."  The New York Times reports that while Mollohan acknowledged "that he had on several occasions steered earmarks to federal agencies to finance contracts with his friend's company," he said he "was not FMW's only 'Congressional sponsor' and that he saw no conflict of interest between his personal real estate purchase and the company's federal contracts."

House Leaders Back Bush's Threat To Veto Senate Emergency Spending Bill (3 May 2006)   The Washington Times reports House Republican leaders "warned senators" that they back President Bush's threat to veto the Senate's $108 billion emergency spending bill, which the Times says is "laden with extra, unrelated spending items." Bush has requested about $92 billion for Iraq and hurricane-related spending, and has said he would likely veto any bill that goes beyond that amount.
Senate Keeps Northrop Grumman, Hawaii Sugar Funding  Despite the House warning, the Wall Street Journal reports the Senate "neared passage" of its $108 billion measure after voting 51-48 "to increase Navy contract payments to Northrop Grumman Corp. to help the shipbuilder recover from storm damage at its Gulf Coast operations." The vote "split the Senate and both parties in remarkably even fashion." The New York Times says the Senate "also voted 59 to 40 in support of a plan" by Sen. Daniel Inouye "to give two of the state's sugar growers $6 million to recover from flood damage after torrential rains."

House Vote On Lobbying Reform Expected Today (3 May 2006) USA Today reports the House will today vote on "new rules aimed at quelling the uproar over lobbyists' influence and restoring confidence in government, but the public isn't buying it." A USA Today/Gallup poll taken over the weekend "found that 59% of Americans voice 'not much' confidence or 'none at all' that Congress can police its own ethics, such as curbing travel paid for by special interests, and 68% lacked confidence in Congress' ability to pass anti-corruption legislation."   Roll Call says the House is expected to approve the measure today "despite vigorous opposition from Democrats and outside watchdog groups who assail the measure as too weak." But The Hill depicts a less definite outcome, referring to the "still-uncertain vote" planned for today. The Hill also says the "earmark-reform deal struck late last week by appropriators, conservatives and leaders continues to face a questionable fate in conference."

U.S. Tax System Unjust?
An Ipsos Poll released this week found almost six of 10 people, 58 percent, say the U.S. tax system is unjust, a number that is virtually unchanged from two decades ago. People think the middle class, the self-employed and small businesses pay too much in taxes, the poll found. And they think those with high incomes and big businesses don't pay enough. Read more

The government could lower the taxes we pay by a considerable amount if they would stop their wasteful, self-interest, pet project, pork barrel spending as detailed below:

Congressional pork for 2006 includes some real stinkers
Lawmakers have included some real stinkers in federal spending bills for 2006, according to a watchdog group that announced its annual Washington pork menu on Wednesday.  The 2006 Congressional Pig Book Summary gives a snapshot of each appropriations bill and details 375 of the juiciest projects culled from the complete Pig Book. 2006 Pig Book Summary (PDF file)

Federal government earmarks $29 billion for pet projects in 2006

  • Congress allocated $13.5 million for the World Toilet Summit in Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • $6,435,000 for wood utilization research
  • $1 million for water-free urinals
  • $550,000 for the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash.
  • $500,000 for a teapot museum in Sparta, NC
  • $500,000 for the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska
  • Alaska--$325 million, $490 per capita, Sen. Ted Stevens
  • Hawaii--$482 million in pork, $378 per capita, Sen. Daniel Inouye
  • Louisiana--$100 million in water & energy pork, Sen. Landrieu & Sen. Alexander
  • District of Columbia received $182 per capita for special projects
  • West Virginia--$2.2 million for the MountainMade Foundation, a nonprofit organization that Rep. Alan Mollohan helped set up
  • 10,000 additional stupid projects

In 2004:

 Congress spent $2 million on The First Tee Program in St. Augustine, Florida to teach young people about golf and values.
 
• Congress spent $50 million to build an enclosed rain forest in Iowa.

• Congress spent $800,000 to provide Disneyland with a “free” shuttle service for its guests.

$1,401,104,263 of our hard-earned money has gone to subsidize the spring break-style trips and conferences of the federal government over the last five years. (That's one and a half BILLION dollars!)
 

In recent years, earmarking has increased at an alarming rate. For example, in 1982 Congress passed a highway bill containing only ten earmarks. By 2005, the number had grown to over 6,300 earmarks or politically-motivated special interest projects that benefit a few in a lawmaker's home state rather than the common good of the nation as a whole.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan had the courage to veto a highway bill simply because it contained 150 earmarks.

But last year's $284 billion highway bill, signed by President Bush, contained 6,371 earmarks, for a total of $24 billion.

 

According to a Treasury Department report, some $24.5 billion of taxpayer money vanished into thin air in 2003. The government knows it was spent by someone, somewhere, on something, but auditors do not know who spent it, where it was spent, or on what.

 

A Department of Defense audit found that Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards over an 18-month period to charge at least $102,400 for admission to entertainment events, $48,250 for gambling, $69,300 for cruises, and $73,950 for exotic dance clubs.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives $400 million annually from Congress, funds 15% of the Public Broadcasting Service's annual budget... CPB and PBS use federal funding to pay for questionable programming such as a documentary on sex education promoted and partially paid for by the Playboy Foundation.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fund programs that are of questionable general public benefit  and they could be funded through private donations.   YOUR tax dollars should not fund:

NEA funded obscene "art" that shows crucifixes suspended in urine or women smearing syrup on their naked bodies while shouting obscenities or actors dressed like priests sodomizing other men on-stage.

PBS funded smearing of Christianity and traditional values while promoting deviant sexual behavior.

NEH sponsorship of "history standards" that call for a politically correct rewriting of the past to promote a far-left agenda and indoctrinate our youth.

Title X Family Planning, established in 1970,  was created to distribute contraception to the poor to help curb the population... Despite approximately $5 billion spent on the Title X program since its inception, the U.S. population did rise to approximately 300 million people in 2005 (up from 203 million in 1970), and the catastrophic predictions made to justify this program have proven false. According to the General Accountability Office, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates spent $58.7 million federal Title X dollars in FY 2001.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) was established by the Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974 to provide free legal assistance to the poor in civil, non-criminal matters... Instead of focusing on this core mission, the LSC has assisted lawyers and groups engaged in lobbying, advocacy of political causes, and litigation against the federal government."

Government Wasteful Spending

Read the following information on government waste, irresponsible spending of taxpayer money, and taxation with unfair representation; be sure to click the links to take action or use the "Contact" banner on the left:

Katrina audit- U.S. overpaid by $7.8 million

Government Accountability Office report said the government wasted at least $7.8 million. It’s the latest in a series of audits detailing waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the hurricane recovery effort.  Auditors determined that 10,777 manufactured homes costing $301.7 million were sitting unused in runways and open fields, and $3 million that FEMA spent for 4,000 base camp beds that were never used; and $10 million to renovate and furnish 240 rooms in Alabama that housed only six occupants before being closed.

Pork is a constitutional right?

Republican Congressman Mike Simpson sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter entitled "The Other Side of Earmarking." In his letter, Simpson vigorously defended the practice of congressional earmarking, asserting that to not allow earmarking would be to defy the Constitution.  WO Comment:  Write Simpson and tell him to stick earmarks in his ear!  His defense of earmarks (irresponsible spending on politically-motivated personal pet projects) is a betrayal of the public trust.

We must require all government agencies to disclose what they are doing, in clear language, on websites accessible to all comers. A good example would be a law that mandated that every congressional spending measure and conference report be posted on the Internet for at least twenty-four hours before members could vote on it. This would enable bloggers and other media outlets to sniff out and expose pork projects or other forms of irresponsible behavior.  WO Comment:  Good idea!  Please write or call lawmakers and suggest this legislation.

The Patriot Post:  "Let's not just limit special projects earmarked for specific congressional districts. Make pork barrel illegal, period. Let the federal government deal only with things that have national import, as defined by the enumerated powers in the Constitution." —Paul Jacob                   WO Comment:  Another good idea.  Take action! 

ELIMINATING EARMARKS--IMPORTANT ANALYSIS BY THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

From The American Conservative Union

Congressmen love their pork.  Some days I actually believe that our elected leaders think Congress is one big BBQ social and that you and I are the main course.

And personally, I'm fed up with being skewered and turned on a spit.  I'm tired of feeling the heat while the fat cats in Washington and in Congress gorge themselves on the backs of good and decent folks who work hard for a living.

I'm tired of being taxed to death just so elitist politicians can "bring home the bacon" and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on wasteful and ludicrous pork projects that are in many cases -- and let's be brutally honest here -- nothing more than pay-backs and favors to the special interests that got them elected.

WE all PAY so THEY can PLAY!  It's wrong!  And at some point, we simply have to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  That why I'm asking you to join with me TODAY to send a very simple -- yet effective -- message to Congress.

Simply put -- No more pork barrel spending!

And RIGHT NOW the timing is perfect because at this very moment, Senators Trent Lott and Dianne Feinstein are introducing legislation that they claim is designed to place some common sense curbs on earmarks.  But if this legislation is to have any hope whatsoever of passage, our leaders in Congress need to hear from you TODAY!  Tell them that you have had enough of the double-talk and empty promises.  Tell them to get down to business and reduce the size of government.  Tell them that the American people want fiscally responsible government.  Tell them that the legislation that is being proposed by Senators Lott and Feinstein is only a starting point.  Tell them we expect real earmark reform.  Tell them to cut the "pork" or suffer the consequences in November.

What is an EARMARK? 

Simply put, it's the sordid congressional practice of inserting pork barrel projects into spending bills at the last minute -- under the cover of darkness -- when no one is supposedly looking!  It's a horrible practice but what is really a crying shame is that the Republican Congress that came into power over ten years ago on a solemn promise to limit the size of government is spending like there is no tomorrow.

How bad have things gotten? Some perspective is in order:

Federal spending has increased a whooping 79 percent while inflation has only increased 28 percent since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1994.

Last year alone, Congress snuck about 15,000 pork barrel projects into bills.  These pork barrel projects were snuck in -- in many cases -- without hearings and without disclosure...

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan had the courage to veto a highway bill simply because it contained 150 earmarks.

But last year's $284 billion highway bill, signed by President Bush, contained 6,371 earmarks, for a total of $24 billion.

That's a lot of PORK! 

And, even though some Members of Congress are paying lip-service to our demands for fiscal restraint, it's not going to be easy to break our Members of Congress of their addictions to pork.  Consider the comments of Senator Lott -- the man who is actually proposing this legislation to curb earmarks:  "I don't think there's anything wrong with earmarks. I represent one of the poorest states in the nation. We're desperate... " 

(Comments like these make you wonder just how serious Lott really is about addressing the problem of earmarks.  Comments like these make you wonder if Lott really thinks there is a problem!)

And during the State of the Union Address last week; when President Bush mentioned earmark reform, only a handful of Senators and Congressmen applauded.  Some probably sat there stone-faced... others probably gasped!  It was shameful!  After all, it's one thing to TALK about earmark reform and win points with the American people... but actually enacting reform is another thing.  That is why it is so important that we act now.  We must tell our elected officials -- while earmark reform is a topic of debate -- that we WILL NOT be satisfied with a lot of talk and NO ACTION!  Some of our politicians may only want to talk the talk when it comes to earmark reform... but if we hold their feet to the fire... we can force them to walk the walk!  We must let each and every one of them know in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that we are watching and we are expecting REAL REFORM and not just a lot of double-talk and empty promises!

You may remember that a couple of months ago our Republican leaders in Congress were spending like there was no tomorrow:

House Transportation Chairman Don Young of Alaska actually bragged that the massive highway bill was "stuffed like a turkey" with pet projects.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican, actually threatened to resign his seat if the Senate voted to cut one of his pet pork projects -- the infamous $300 million "bridge to nowhere."  (Of course the bridge to nowhere promptly collapsed and Stevens promptly backed-down).

When we called our elected leaders to task for this runaway spending; conservative standard-bearer and then-Majority Leader, Tom DeLay actually -- in a moment of surreal denial -- tried to convince us that there was no more fat in the federal budget -- or to put it in DeLay's own words, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared it down pretty good."

With your help and support, we took our congressional leaders to task and when it became clear to them that we weren't buying whatever it was that they were selling -- they responded and promised to cut the pork.  Now I'm sure that many of them are hoping that you will forget that promise.  But with your help we can send our leaders a clear message that we have not forgotten.  With your help we can press the advantage we presently have and finish the job!

J. William Lauderback, Executive Vice President
American Conservative Union

 

Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) Co-Porkers of the Month for their editorial, “Earnest Earmarks,” which portrays earmarking as a proper exercise of Congress’s constitutional spending power and a check on the growth of government.  Sen. Craig and Rep. Simpson -- who sit on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, helping Idaho rank 13th in pork per capita in 2005 -- argue that earmarks do not increase spending because Appropriations Committees must stay within the overall limits set by the budget resolution.  However, the budget resolution is nonbinding, and Congress routinely exceeds its spending caps.  Furthermore, lawmakers often vote for expensive bills in exchange for pork projects in their home districts.  As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says, earmarks “are a gateway drug on the road to the spending addiction.”  For their fanciful interpretation of the Constitution and their self-serving arguments in defense of pork, CAGW names Sen. Craig and Rep. Simpson Co-Porkers of the Month for March 2006.    

President Bush's line item-veto proposal

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) this month endorsed President Bush’s proposal for a line-item veto that would give the president the power to strike specific earmarks from appropriations and tax bills.  Ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998, the most recent law to provide a line-item veto allowed the president to cancel specific spending items and certain tax benefits from the final versions of legislation.  Congress could reinstate the items with a two-thirds vote.  Then-President Bill Clinton vetoed 82 items, saving $2 billion over five years.  Under the Bush Administration’s proposal, Congress would accept or reject the president’s proposed rescissions with a simple majority vote.  “With a line-item veto, the president could help get special-interest and pork-barrel spending under control,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “The line-item veto would add an important check to a budget process that is tainted by waste, abuse, and favoritism.”     

Republican Study Committee Budget

CAGW has applauded the budget plan proposed by the Republican Study Committee (RSC).  Entitled “Contract With America:  Renewed,” the RSC proposal aims to balance the federal budget in five years and would save $650 billion by eliminating more than 150 programs and restraining the runaway growth of entitlement spending.  Highlights of the plan include:  $31 billion in cuts to foreign aid over five years, capping Medicare’s growth at 5.4 percent annually, and budget process reforms.  It also answers President Bush’s call for a Sunset Commission, which would require all federal programs to expire after a specified period of time unless Congress voted to keep them going.  The RSC introduced its budget as Congress prepared to increase the national debt limit.  At $8.28 trillion currently, the national debt amounts to $27,724 for every American.  “The RSC blueprint is the best comprehensive plan on the table to rein in spending and cut government waste,” CAGW President Tom Schatz stated.  “The rest of Congress needs to support this plan and get serious about addressing the nation’s long-term budget problems.” 

WHO:  Taxpayers Won’t Get Fooled Again

A CAGW report issued this month reveals that the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations health agency, wasted tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars on ill-founded medical policies and initiatives.  The U.S. funds almost a quarter of the WHO’s annual budget, more than any other nation.  “It is time for our nation’s investment in the WHO to be thoroughly reviewed,” CAGW President Tom Schatz asserted.  “The WHO should be a leader in setting health standards, focusing on basic health needs, and solving health crises.  Instead, it is both mismanaged and chronically ineffective.  This report raises serious concern that the WHO may be doing more harm than good.”  The CAGW report finds that the WHO sanctioned the use of untested AIDS drugs in Africa and Asia and maintains an “other budget” of almost $2 billion that includes contributions from known political activists, such as George Soros and Ted Turner.  The report asks the U.S. Congress to hold oversight hearings to review, among other issues:  whether the WHO misused U.S. tax dollars; the agency’s “other budget”; and the influence non-governmental organizations exert on the WHO's policies and initiatives.

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