This Tax Day, the federal government expects to rake in $945 billion in individual income tax payments from U.S. taxpayers.
According to the Tax Foundation, the average American worked 32 days last year just to pay their income tax bill from Uncle Sam, and that doesn’t even include federal Social Security, Medicare or unemployment insurance programs, or any state or local tax burdens.
|Julie Schaul lobbies passing motorists in Santa Cruz, Calif.
As taxpayers across the nation rush to calculate their share of taxes and say a final goodbye to some of their hard-earned dollars, the same question crosses the minds of many Americans: “What is the government doing with all of this money?”
Unfortunately, the answer is rarely anything useful, responsible, necessary, constitutional, valuable or meaningful.
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has identified 10 outrageous federal expenditures that cost taxpayers dearly, while providing little benefit in return. The programs, and their price tags this year, include:
- $17 billion for fraudulent and erroneous Medicare overpayments to healthcare providers because no one actually checks Medicare claims for accuracy.
- $7.1 billion to purchase 98 V-22 Osprey helicopters, despite the fact that MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters offer similar capabilities for one-third of the price and are much safer. The V-22 Osprey is commonly referred to as a “death trap” by pilots because 34 American servicemen and women have been killed in Osprey accidents.
- $1.5 billion in foreign aid to countries to which the federal government owes money. As the government borrows trillions of dollars from countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and Ireland to underwrite the bloated federal budget, Congress hands U.S. tax dollars right back to those wealthy nations to pick up the tab for their healthcare, agriculture, military, economic development, infrastructure and higher education costs.
- $1.4 billion to bail out Amtrak. Rather than privatizing the insolvent government-run passenger rail line, federal lawmakers hand over $55 in taxpayer subsidies for every ticket sold.
- $328 million to bankroll the research and production of energy efficient vehicles, shielding the companies that stand to profit from the sale of the vehicles from much of the economic risk at the expense of taxpayers.
- $232 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which shells out taxpayer-funded giveaways to museums such as the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska, the American Museum of Magic in Michigan and a merry-go-round museum in upstate New York.
- $226 million to fund the Community Transformation Grants aimed at such nanny state activities as banning sodas in schools, making sure adults eat their veggies, and driving up prices for fast food and tobacco products. The scheme, which is part of Obamacare, has granted $18 million to get Minnesotans to lose weight, $1 million to slap calorie counts on menus in Boston and $147,106 to encourage emotional wellness and healthy eating in the Republic of Palau.
- $174 million in Department of Commerce handouts to subsidize broadband development in areas that lack the population to justify the expenditure. Worse for taxpayers, new private sector technology is already making many of these expensive government efforts obsolete before they are even completed.
- $70 million to upgrade federal employees from regular coach seats to swanky business or first class cabins on domestic flights purchased with tax dollars.
- $11 million in subsidies to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank beholden to elected officials since it accepts federal money from Congress and features Cabinet members on its board. The Center recently bestowed its most prestigious award on controversial Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is perhaps best known for denying his county’s genocide of more than a million Armenians after World War I.
Regrettably, this list barely scratches the surface of the outrageous amount of careless spending or the ridiculous number of unnecessary programs crammed inside the $3.8 trillion federal budget.
In total, these 10 examples of wasteful programs and misused tax dollars alone cost every federal taxpayer this year an average of $400 — making it even more frustrating to write that check to the IRS this year.
Drew Johnson is a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to a smaller, more responsible government. Read more reports from Drew Johnson — Click Here Now.
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