Have you ever wanted to know how your tax money is wasted? Well here it is!

Your tax bill has included…
On Capitol Hill, "pork" is more than just the other white meat—it's your cash, rolled up and smoked.

$15 billion…for Boston's "Big Dig," the most expensive public works project in American history and a construction boondoggle of great importance—if you happen to live in eastern Massachusetts.

$6.9 billion…to design the Army's Comanche helicopter. The project was canceled in 2004 without building a single usable chopper—generating an additional $2 billion in termination fees.

$400 million…each year to subsidize public broadcasting, like PBS. Sesame Street alone would be a commercial gold mine…if taxpayers didn't underwrite it already.

$3.5 million…to refurbish Alabama's Vulcan monument. This 100-year-old Birmingham statue is a depiction of the Roman god of fire and metalworking, not Spock.

$1.5 billion…to projects at the 2002 Winter Olympics, including the Olympic tree program ($500,000), adopting an Olympic horse ($70,000), and "resolving racial tensions" in honky-happy Utah ($55,000).

$835 million…to build a single amphibious assault ship the Pentagon never asked for. The project was "requested" by Mississippi senator Trent Lott…who happens to live within view of the shipyard hired to build it.

$9 billion…for the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Nevada, a dumping site for radioactive waste. Unfortunately, the toxic waste dump offers protection for only 10,000 years, when uranium has a half-life of billions.

$50 million…to The Environmental Project in Iowa, which features a 4.5-acre indoor jungle, an IMAX-style movie theater, and outdoor exhibits of indigenous ecosystems (a.k.a. cornfields).

$950,000…to erect a bronze memorial to Dr. Seuss in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.

$300,000…to keep America rocking. This includes $200,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and an extra $100,000 for the Kids Rock Free Educational Program. Sadly, there are no classes on setting guitars on fire, trashing motel rooms, or cornholing groupies.



Passing the Buck
Time to pay up! Where your tax dollar evaporates, one misspent penny at a time.

Social Security ($476.6 billion, 21.03%)*

Defense ($456.2 billion, 20.13%)
 
  • $1 million for the Young Patriots Program, including "a video that promotes the significance of National Patriotic Holidays."
     
  • $1 million for theater groups to perform Shakespeare in American military communities.
     
  • $6.46 billion for Halliburton's troop support effort in Iraq; this money includes $45 cases of soda, $85,000 "oil filters," and $100 per bag of laundry. Meanwhile, a new private earns only $13,248 a year—but he gets an extra $225 a month for taking fire in combat!
     
  • $9.1 billion was spent this year alone on missile defense research, a.k.a. "Star Wars." Since 1983, more than $90 billion has been spent on a program meant to defend us against the ever-threatening (and currently nonexistent) Soviet Union.
     
  • $4.1 million a year to pay off Ahmad Chalabi, the traitorous Iraqi exile accused of passing U.S. secrets to Iran. Pentagon brass spent $27 million on Chalabi's political aspirations.

    Unemployment/Welfare ($329.5 billion, 14.54%)

    Medicare ($250 billion, 11.03%)
     
  • $600,000 to sail a Medicare-branded blimp around the country—that's just part of Medicare's $30 million annual advertising budget: "Can't afford health care? Medicare is here to help…as long as you don't have cancer!"

    Health ($231.7 billion, 10.22%)
     
  • $2.9 million for 32 programs that teach kids abstinence rather than sex ed.
     
  • $5 million for the Strom Thurmond Fitness and Wellness Center in South Carolina. (Our calls asking whether this includes day care for illegitimate mixed-race children went unreturned.)

    Interest On The National Debt ($153.2 billion, 6.76%)
     
  • Your personal share? $25,062

    Education And Social Services ($87.6 billion, 3.87%)
     
  • $20 million to bail out Pennsylvania's struggling school districts. Yes, taxpayers nationwide are footing the bill because Pennsylvania can't solve its own education crisis.

    Transportation ($68.7 billion, 3.03%)
     
  • $1.2 billion this year alone to prop up Amtrak—on top of more than $25 billion since 1971. The horribly inefficient, heavily subsidized railroad incurs two dollars in costs for every dollar sold in tickets.

    Veterans Affairs ($59.1 billion, 2.61%)
     
  • $231 million for AmeriCorps, the domestic Peace Corps. Rather than investing in, say, veterans affairs, the U.S. spends $27,000 per "volunteer" for what amounts to little more than political stump speech fodder.

    Administration Of Justice ($39.7 billion, 1.75%)

    Natural Resources And Environment ($31.8 billion, 1.4%)
     
  • $375,000 for the restoration of the Homestake Opera House in the opera hotbed of Lead, South Dakota.
  • $300,000 for Utah forestry education. "See all these trees, Senator? We call this a ‘forest.' Senator! Don't make business in your hand!"

    International Affairs ($31.7 billion, 1.4%)

    General Government ($25 billion, 1.1%)
     
  • $3.6 million for team-building exercises to keep those wacky U.S. Postal Service employees from breaking down and shooting each other. This included singing, treasure hunts, and dressing in cat costumes. No, we're not joking.

    Agriculture ($24.7 billion, 1.09%)
     
  • $17 billion for U.S. farm subsidies. Sorry, John Mellencamp, but it ain't going to your stereotypical starving small farmer. Huge—and hugely profitable—corporate farms, which make up only seven percent of the two million farms in America, snort up more than half of that money.
     
  • $6.1 million for "wood utilization research." Since 1985, a total of $79 million has been spent investigating the various commercial uses for the miracle mystery substance known as "lumber."
     
  • $3.8 million for shrimp aquaculture research. Since 1985, $61 million has been spent studying these sea cockroaches.

    General Science, Space, And Technology ($23.1 billion, 1.02%)

    Community And Regional Development ($16.7 billion, .74%)

    Commerce ($14.9 billion, .66%)
     
  • $1 million to pay for South Carolina "oyster recovery"—because no shellfish should be left behind.
  • $2 million for the First Tee initiative in St. Augustine, Florida, which teaches honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship through, um, "golf education."

    Energy ($548 million, .02%)
     
  • $1.2 billion (from several departments) for the FreedomCAR—an initiative started by President Bush to create cars powered by hydrogen-fuel cells, which would supposedly one day replace autos that run on "Freedom Juice."

    *Dollar bill breakdown based on the 2003 federal budget.



    Worst of the Wurst
    These politicians take from the many and give to the few—and earn a place in our tax-dollar-hemorrhaging Hall of Shame.

    Ted Stevens (MVP)
    Team: Republican
    State: Alaska
    Career lowlights: As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, amassed a pork total of $524 million in fiscal year 2004, the most of any congressman. Since 1995, he's spent $95 million on HAARP, a program that heats and tests the ionosphere. Once suggested N.Y.C. cops and firemen give up their overtime pay as a wartime sacrifice.

    Arlen Specter
    Team: Republican
    State: Pennsylvania
    Career lowlights: When asked why he blew $90,000 to fund fruit fly research in France, Specter responded, "That sounds frivolous, but the fruit flies pose a real threat to crops, and they are tested in France because you don't want to study fruit flies in Pennsylvania, where they might get into our apple crops."

    Jim Gibbons
    Team: Republican
    State: Nevada
    Career lowlights: Snagged $225,000 to repair a swimming pool in his hometown of Sparks, Nevada—a pool that Gibbons himself caused to shut down in the 1950s by filling the drain with tadpoles. When asked about his earmarking money for his own special interests, Gibbons replied, "Who cares about the process? The process is irrelevant."

    Terry Everett
    Team: Republican
    State: Alabama
    Career lowlights: Received $202,500 for the National Peanut Festival Agricultural Arena in Dothan, Alabama, which did wonders for Alabama's native elephant population. Later admitted he was shocked to find out that not only was his request granted, but the government added an extra $2,500 that he never asked for.

    Robert Byrd (MVP)
    Team: Democrat
    State: West Virginia
    Career lowlights: Became the first person in history to obtain more than $1 billion in pork over his career. Since Byrd entered state government 57 years ago, West Virginia has added about 37,000 miles of federally funded hillbilly highway. Byrd said, "You might as well slap my wife as take highway money from West Virginia."

    Daniel Inouye
    Team: Democrat
    State: Hawaii
    Career lowlights: Gouged taxpayers to the tune of $494 million worth of pork in 2004 alone, second only to Stevens. Spent $220,000 of federal money to study an abundance of icky green algae on the beaches of West Maui. He also burned up $2.3 million on brown tree snake control and $586,000 to "monitor" pineapple and papaya crops.

    Ernest "Fritz" Hollings
    Team: Democrat
    State: South Carolina
    Career lowlights: Spent $1 million to study fish spawning at the Charleston Bump, a hot spot for scaly swingers. Spent $16 million on the aptly named Hollings Marine Laboratory, and $5 million on the Hollings Cancer Center. Hopes to have his state renamed Hollings' South Carolina have gone unfulfilled.

    Anthony Williams
    Team: Democrat
    Hometown: Washington, D.C.
    Career lowlights: Scored $181 million in federal pork in 2004—for a city with a population of 563,000. As mayor of D.C., Williams is seeking $300 million to build a new baseball stadium in hopes of luring the Montreal Expos to Washington, and is boycotting Baltimore Orioles games to protest the lack of a team in his city.


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    Last Updated: November 18, 2010 10:48
    Created on: December 01, 2004 02:27
    Creator: Jonathan Woodward

    By John DeVore Maxim, November 2004 http://www.maximonline.com/grit/articles/article_6088.html