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Old 08-15-2011, 10:19 AM  
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Greenville, SC
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Where to cut....

A TSA "facility operations officer" struck a deal for office d?cor in June 2003 with a tool company whose owners he knew. The company had never done interior decorating but sold the TSA $253,000 in artwork, $31,000 in silk plants and $14,000 in office supplies, the report says. The company also charged $29,000 for consulting and a $65,000 markup.

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.

Alot of it came from here: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/10/08/...ernment-waste/

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Old 08-15-2011, 10:30 AM  
blucher's Avatar

Keizer, OR
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lots of numbers but where are the links?

I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:34 AM  
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Greenville, SC
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Posts: 1,141 | Kudos: +188
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation sought and on August 28, 2009 was awarded $150,045 to refurbish “a historic stone arch bridge [which] will be preserved and resurfaced to better accommodate pedestrians and bicycles.”
The NH DOT lists the following for the rationale for the project: “Facilities for Pedestrians and Bicycles. Preserve/Create jobs; and economic recovery. Invest in transportation.” The project is nearly complete now but you still can’t cross the bridge to get to the other side. That’s because there is no other side. As can be seen from the photos from Hillsborough, NH the word “bridge” does not adequately describe the structure. It’s really more of a pier. Nor does it appear there will ever be a bridge. The railing at the lopped-off end of the structure seems pretty permanent.

A total of $3 million has been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the University of New Hampshire $700,000 this year to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

$615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.

A professor at Stanford University received $239,100 to study how Americans use the Internet to find love.

The National Science Foundation spent $216,000 to study whether or not politicians "gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions."

The National Institutes of Health spent approximately $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

Approximately $1 million of U.S. taxpayer money was used to create poetry for the Little Rock, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago zoos.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent $175 million during 2010 to maintain hundreds of buildings that it does not even use. This includes a pink, octagonal monkey house in the city of Dayton, Ohio.

$1.8 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars went for a "museum of neon signs" in Las Vegas, Nevada.

$35 million was reportedly paid out by Medicare to 118 "phantom" medical clinics that never even existed. Apparently these "phantom" medical clinics were established by a network of criminal gangs as a way to defraud the U.S. government.

The Conservation Commission of Monkton, Vermont got $150,000 from the federal government to construct a "critter crossing". Thanks to U.S. government money, the lives of "thousands" of migrating salamanders are now being saved.

In California, one park received $440,000 in federal funds to perform "green energy upgrades" on a building that has not been used for a decade.

$440,955 was spent this past year on an office for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that he rarely even visits.

One Tennessee library was given $5,000 in federal funds to host a series of video game parties.

The U.S. Census Bureau spent $2.5 million on a television commercial during the Super Bowl that was so poorly produced that virtually nobody understood what is was trying to say.

A professor at Dartmouth University received $137,530 to create a "recession-themed" video game entitled "Layoff".

The National Science Foundation gave the Minnesota Zoo over $600,000 so that they could develop an online video game called "Wolfquest".

A pizzeria in Iowa was given $60,000 to renovate the pizzeria's facade and give it a more "inviting feel".

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave one enterprising group of farmers $30,000 to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight "haycations".

Almost unbelievably, the National Institutes of Health was given $800,000 in "stimulus funds" to study the impact of a "genital-washing program" on men in South Africa.

I suggest all of us tighten our belts a little and pay more taxes to help fund some of these worthwhile causes for the advancement of society!!
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:36 AM  
Senior Member

Greenville, SC
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by blucher View Post
lots of numbers but where are the links?
Came from several places. Are you suggesting that these wastes are not true? Do you find it unlikely that our posterchild of efficiency (the federal gov't) is outside of this kind of spending?

I know many of you like links. I will try to provide links in the future. Sorry about that.

Some of it came from here.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:54 AM  
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Greenville, SC
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1. Taxes: Cheating Shows. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that the annual net tax gap—the difference between what’s owed and what’s collected—is $290 billion, more than double the average yearly sum spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

About $59 billion of that figure results from the underreporting and underpayment of employment taxes. Our broken system of immigration is another concern, with nearly eight million undocumented workers having a less-than-stellar relationship with the IRS. Getting more of them on the books could certainly help narrow that tax gap.

Going after the deadbeats would seem like an obvious move. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t have the resources to adequately pursue big offenders and their high-powered tax attorneys. “The IRS is outgunned,” says Walker, “especially when dealing with multinational corporations with offshore headquarters.”

Another group that costs taxpayers billions: hedge fund and private equity managers. Many of these moguls make vast “incomes” yet pay taxes on a portion of those earnings at the paltry 15 percent capital gains rate, instead of the higher income tax rate. By some estimates, this loophole costs taxpayers more than $2.5 billion a year.

Oil companies are getting a nice deal too. The country hands them more than $2 billion a year in tax breaks. Says Walker, “Some of the sweetheart deals that were negotiated for drilling rights on public lands don’t pass the straight-face test, especially given current crude oil prices.” And Big Oil isn’t alone. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that corporations reap more than $123 billion a year in special tax breaks. Cut this in half and we could save about $60 billion.

The Tab*
Tax Shortfall: $290 billion (uncollected taxes) + $2.5 billion (undertaxed high rollers) + $60 billion (unwarranted tax breaks)
Starting Tab: $352.5 billion

2. Healthy Fixes. Medicare and Medicaid, which cover elderly and low-income patients respectively, eat up a growing portion of the federal budget. Investigations by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) point to as much as $60 billion a year in fraud, waste and overpayments between the two programs. And Coburn is likely underestimating the problem.

The U.S. spends more than $400 per person on health care administration costs and insurance — six times more than other industrialized nations.

That’s because a 2003 Dartmouth Medical School study found that up to 30 percent of the $2 trillion spent in this country on medical care each year—including what’s spent on Medicare and Medicaid—is wasted. And with the combined tab for those programs rising to some $665 billion this year, cutting costs by a conservative 15 percent could save taxpayers about $100 billion. Yet, rather than moving to trim fat, the government continues such questionable practices as paying private insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans an average of 12 percent more per patient than traditional Medicare fee-for-service. Congress is trying to close this loophole, and doing so could save $15 billion per year, on average, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Another money-wasting bright idea was to create a giant class of middlemen: Private bureaucrats who administer the Medicare drug program are monitored by federal bureaucrats—and the public pays for both. An October report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform estimated that this setup costs the government $10 billion per year in unnecessary administrative expenses and higher drug prices.

The Tab*
Wasteful Health Spending:
$60 billion (fraud, waste, overpayments) + $100 billion (modest 15 percent cost reduction) + $15 billion (closing the 12 percent loophole) + $10 billion (unnecessary Medicare administrative and drug costs)
Total $185 billion
Running Tab: $352.5 billion +$185 billion = $537.5 billion

3. Military Mad Money. You’d think it would be hard to simply lose massive amounts of money, but given the lack of transparency and accountability, it’s no wonder that eight of the Department of Defense’s functions, including weapons procurement, have been deemed high risk by the GAO. That means there’s a high probability that money — “tens of billions,” according to Walker — will go missing or be otherwise wasted.

The DOD routinely hands out no-bid and cost-plus contracts, under which contractors get reimbursed for their costs plus a certain percentage of the contract figure. Such deals don’t help hold down spending in the annual military budget of about $500 billion. That sum is roughly equal to the combined defense spending of the rest of the world’s countries. It’s also comparable, adjusted for inflation, with our largest Cold War-era defense budget. Maybe that’s why billions of dollars are still being spent on high-cost weapons designed to counter Cold War-era threats, even though today’s enemy is armed with cell phones and IEDs. (And that $500 billion doesn’t include the billions to be spent this year in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those funds demand scrutiny, too, according to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, who says, “One in six federal tax dollars sent to rebuild Iraq has been wasted.”)

Meanwhile, the Pentagon admits it simply can’t account for more than $1 trillion. Little wonder, since the DOD hasn’t been fully audited in years. Hoping to change that, Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation is pushing Congress to add audit provisions to the next defense budget.

If wasteful spending equaling 10 percent of all spending were rooted out, that would free up some $50 billion. And if Congress cut spending on unnecessary weapons and cracked down harder on fraud, we could save tens of billions more.

The Tab*
Wasteful military spending: $100 billion (waste, fraud, unnecessary weapons)
Running Tab: $537.5 billion + $100 billion = $637.5 billion

4. Bad Seeds. The controversial U.S. farm subsidy program, part of which pays farmers not to grow crops, has become a giant welfare program for the rich, one that cost taxpayers nearly $20 billion last year.

Two of the best-known offenders: Kenneth Lay, the now-deceased Enron CEO, who got $23,326 for conservation land in Missouri from 1995 to 2005, and mogul Ted Turner, who got $590,823 for farms in four states during the same period. A Cato Institute study found that in 2005, two-thirds of the subsidies went to the richest 10 percent of recipients, many of whom live in New York City. Not only do these “farmers” get money straight from the government, they also often get local tax breaks, since their property is zoned as agricultural land. The subsidies raise prices for consumers, hurt third world farmers who can’t compete, and are attacked in international courts as unfair trade.

The Tab*
Wasteful farm subsidies: $20 billion
Running Tab: $637.5 billion + $20 billion = $657.5 billion

5. Capital Waste. While there’s plenty of ongoing annual operating waste, there’s also a special kind of profligacy—call it capital waste—that pops up year after year. This is shoddy spending on big-ticket items that don’t pan out. While what’s being bought changes from year to year, you can be sure there will always be some costly items that aren’t worth what the government pays for them.

Take this recent example: Since September 11, 2001, Congress has spent more than $4 billion to upgrade the Coast Guard’s fleet. Today the service has fewer ships than it did before that money was spent, what 60 Minutes called “a fiasco that has set new standards for incompetence.” Then there’s the Future Imagery Architecture spy satellite program. As The New York Times recently reported, the technology flopped and the program was killed—but not before costing $4 billion. Or consider the FBI’s infamous Trilogy computer upgrade: Its final stage was scrapped after a $170 million investment. Or the almost $1 billion the Federal Emergency Management Agency has wasted on unusable housing. The list goes on.

The Tab*
Wasteful Capital Spending: $30 billion
Running Tab: $657.5 billion + $30 billion = $687.5 billion

Link: You've Been Had! The Government Is Wasting Your Tax Dollars! | Reader's Digest Version
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:54 AM  
Senior Member

Greenville, SC
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6. Fraud and Stupidity. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wants the Social Security Administration to better monitor the veracity of people drawing disability payments from its $100 billion pot. By one estimate, roughly $1 billion is wasted each year in overpayments to people who work and earn more than the program’s rules allow.

The federal Food Stamp Program gets ripped off too. Studies have shown that almost 5 percent, or more than $1 billion, of the payments made to people in the $30 billion program are in excess of what they should receive.

One person received $105,000 in excess disability payments over seven years.

There are plenty of other examples. Senator Coburn estimates that the feds own unused properties worth $18 billion and pay out billions more annually to maintain them. Guess it’s simpler for bureaucrats to keep paying for the property than to go to the trouble of selling it.

The Tab*
General Fraud and Stupidity: $2 billion (disability and food stamp overpayment)
Running Tab: $687.5 billion + $2 billion = $689.5 billion

7. Pork Sausage. Congress doled out $29 billion in so-called earmarks—aka funds for legislators’ pet projects—in 2006, according to Citizens Against Government Waste. That’s three times the amount spent in 1999. Congress loves to deride this kind of spending, but lawmakers won’t hesitate to turn around and drop $500,000 on a ballpark in Billings, Montana.

The most infamous earmark is surely the “bridge to nowhere”—a span that would have connected Ketchikan, Alaska, to nearby Gravina Island—at a cost of more than $220 million. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Senator Coburn tried to redirect that money to repair the city’s Twin Span Bridge. He failed when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle got behind the Alaska pork. (That money is now going to other projects in Alaska.) Meanwhile, this kind of spending continues at a time when our country’s crumbling infrastructure—the bursting dams, exploding water pipes and collapsing bridges—could really use some investment. Cutting two-thirds of the $29 billion would be a good start.

The Tab*
Pork Barrel Spending: $20 billion
Running Tab: $689.5 billion + $20 billion = $709.5 billion

8. Welfare Kings. Corporate welfare is an easy thing for politicians to bark at, but it seems it’s hard to bite the hand that feeds you. How else to explain why corporate welfare is on the rise? A Cato Institute report found that in 2006, corporations received $92 billion (including some in the form of those farm subsidies) to do what they do anyway—research, market and develop products. The recipients included plenty of names from the Fortune 500, among them IBM, GE, Xerox, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor Company, DuPont and Johnson & Johnson.

The Tab*
Corporate Welfare: $50 billion
Running Tab: $709.5 billion + $50 billion = $759.5 billion

9. Been There, Done That. The Rural Electrification Administration, created during the New Deal, was an example of government at its finest—stepping in to do something the private sector couldn’t. Today, renamed the Rural Utilities Service, it’s an example of a government that doesn’t know how to end a program. “We established an entity to electrify rural America. Mission accomplished. But the entity’s still there,” says Walker. “We ought to celebrate success and get out of the business.”

In a 2007 analysis, the Heritage Foundation found that hundreds of programs overlap to accomplish just a few goals. Ending programs that have met their goals and eliminating redundant programs could comfortably save taxpayers $30 billion a year.

The Tab*
Obsolete, Redundant Programs: $30 billion
Running Tab: $759.5 billion + $30 billion = $789.5 billion

10. Living on Credit. Here’s the capper: Years of wasteful spending have put us in such a deep hole, we must squander even more to pay the interest on that debt. In 2007, the federal government carried a debt of $9 trillion and blew $252 billion in interest. Yes, we understand the federal government needs to carry a small debt for the Federal Reserve Bank to operate. But “small” isn’t how we would describe three times the nation’s annual budget. We need to stop paying so much in interest (and we think cutting $194 billion is a good target). Instead we’re digging ourselves deeper: Congress had to raise the federal debt limit last September from $8.965 trillion to almost $10 trillion or the country would have been at legal risk of default. If that’s not a wake-up call to get spending under control, we don’t know what is.

The Tab*
Interest on National Debt: $194 billion
Final Tab: $789.5 billion + $194 billion = $983.5 billion

Link: You've Been Had! The Government Is Wasting Your Tax Dollars! | Reader's Digest Version

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