||10-23-2010 02:14 AM
how our money is being spent
- The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
- Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.
- Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
- Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them–costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually–fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
- The Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” series identifying more than $100 billion in potential spending cuts.
- Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs.
- Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
- A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
- Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
- The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
- Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.
- Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.
- A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.
- The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
- Washington will spend $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
- Federal investigators have launched more than 20 criminal fraud investigations related to the TARP financial bailout.
- Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.
- The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes.
- The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland.
- Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines–plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.
- More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.
- Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and at least one sex change operation.
- Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.
- Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.
- The Transportation Department will subsidize up to $2,000 per flight for direct flights between Washington, D.C., and the small hometown of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY)–but only on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, when lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists usually fly. Rogers is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which writes the Transportation Department’s budget.
- Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches–even as this new sand washes back into the ocean.
- A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in “stimulus” funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.
- The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.
- Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.
- Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.
- Members of Congress are set to pay themselves $90 million to increase their franked mailings for the 2010 election year.
- Congress has ignored efficiency recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that would save $9 billion annually.
- Taxpayers are funding paintings of high-ranking government officials at a cost of up to $50,000 apiece.
- The state of Washington sent $1 food stamp checks to 250,000 households in order to raise state caseload figures and trigger $43 million in additional federal funds.
- Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their backyards–subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want.
- Congress appropriated $20 million for “commemoration of success” celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Homeland Security employee purchases include 63-inch plasma TVs, iPods, and $230 for a beer brewing kit.
- Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act resulted in a $2 billion taxpayer cost.
- North Ridgeville, Ohio, received $800,000 in “stimulus” funds for a project that its mayor described as “a long way from the top priority.”
- The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use.
- Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.
- Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers–the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.
- Medicare officials recently mailed $50 million in erroneous refunds to 230,000 Medicare recipients.
- Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.
- Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia.
- The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses; 40 percent of this funding goes to Fortune 500 companies.
- Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education.
- The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land.
- The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing Americans’ personal data.