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Tax Dollars at Work

Taxpayers Billed for Oil Portraits of Federal Big Shots


Feds Spent $2 Million on Program for One Intern


Feds Give Millions in Food Stamps to Ineligible Applicants


GSA Employees Get Fat Bonuses Paid By Recession-Weary Taxpayers


GSA Spent $270k on Music & Food at Fed Conference


Record Debt Ahead for U.S.


'Death Tax' Will Force Families to Sell, Rather Than Inherit, Property


Number of Americans Filing Disability Claims Outpaces Americans Finding Jobs


60-Day Return Policy Makes Abuse of Tax Credit for Chevy Volt Likely


Congresswoman Says Agency Spent Millions on Lavish Conference


Situation Normal: Feds Overpaid $14 Billion in Benefits


White House Salaries Increase


Federal Jobs Increased While Private Sector Weakened


Congress Squanders Cash on Useless Resolutions


Federal Judges Enjoy Lavish $1 Million 'Conference'

 Billions Wasted on Ineffective Federal Job Training Programs

 Federal Workers Get $430 Million in Bonuses

 U.S. Tax Dollars Going to Taliban in Afghanistan

Costly Foreign Meddling

The U.S. will spend nearly $115 million of taxpayer money this year to try to influence the politics inside other people's countries.  Congress authorized giving $114,770,000 to the United Nations Democracy Fund which claims to finance "global democratization efforts."  Since 2001, Americans have handed over more than $350 million to the fund.

Congress is spending $5,870,000 this year on the "East West Center" in Hawaii.  The purpose? To promote "improved relations" among nations in the Pacific.  Good grief, can't those folks improve their own relations without getting paid by American taxpayers to do it?  The Center is the brainchild of Hawaii Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye.

The jerks who the run the U.S. government are also spending $2,094,000 of taxpayer money on the Asia Foundation, an outfit that claims it is "committed to the development of peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region."  Does that mean that the people of the Asia-Pacific region are not committed to peace, prosperity and openness, and that we have to promote those things for them?  Jeesh.

Clueless Chu

The Department of Energy announced last month that it would award a $100,000 prize in taxpayers' cash to software developers who could create a mobile telephone computer application that shows consumers how much energy they are using.  There's just one big problem, though.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu, an outspoken opponent of oil-derived fuels, said the purpose was to show consumers their energy consumption rate so they can figure out how to reduce it.  "The Apps for Energy competition supports the president's goals of helping consumers lower their energy costs and increasing public access to data by challenging software developers to create apps that provide energy usage data... Improving consumers access to data about how they use energy in their homes will help them save money on their energy bills," he said.  Trouble is, there are already about two-dozen applications available to do that.  The apps Home Energy, Power Simulator, Our Green Home, pConsumpt, Electricity Cost Calculator, Watt, MeterClient, Saia S-Energy Manager, and others, were all created without any government help or prize money from Clueless Chu.

Party Time for the Feds

When you've got trillions of other people's money to spend, why not have a party?  The General Services Administration, which manages all the property owned by the federal government, spent nearly $1 million on a lavish "conference" near Las Vegas for 300 employees that included clowns, a mind reader, and an extravagant reception that alone cost $31,208.  GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller's investigation revealed that GSA spent $823,000 for the four-day conference held at the opulent M Resort and Casino.  Miller said expenses included $130,000 for employee travel to find a location for the event. Other expenses included $5,600 for three in-room catered parties; $44 per-person breakfasts; $75,000 for a "team building" exercise -- which turned out to be putting together a bicycle; $146,000 for food and drinks; $6,325 on commemorative coins in velvet boxes for participants as mementos.  The $31,208 reception included $7,000 of sushi.

Taxmageddon Coming to a Paycheck Near You?

Soon after the 2012 presidential election, several tax breaks are slated to expire and several new taxes will go into affect, causing what some commentors are calling "taxmageddon."  On December 31 the Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire, which means federal tax rates will rise on investment income, estates and gifts, and every income level.  The Washington Post reported that "the rate everyone pays on the first $8,700 of wages will jump from 10 percent to 15 percent."  In addition, the marriage penalty will return, and the value of the child tax credit will drop from $1,000 to $500.  Also set for January first, the Social Security payroll tax reduction now in effect will expire, causing the rate to jump from 4.2 percent now to 6.2 percent.  At the same time, new Medicare taxes enacted in President Obama's federal takeover of the health insurance industry will land on higher-income households. Unless Congress and the president act, it will amount to a $5 trillion, 10-year tax hike, the biggest in history.

Banker Supremacy

The military-industrial complex is about to become the Obama-Banker complex.  Republican staffers from the Senate Budget Committee report that under President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget projections, the U.S. government will spend more by 2019 to pay the interest on the national debt than it will pay for national defense.  By 2019, the defense budget is projected to reach more than $560 billion.  Shortly thereafter, interest payments on the national debt will climb to $600 billion. Total public debt outstanding as of the beginning of April was more than $15 trillion.