We have already filed and received our refund -- you're welcome for the interest-free loan, Uncle Sam, you wastrel -- but I still have to make note of today.
As usual, the estimable Matt Walsh has said it better than I ever could: Three things that all you serfs and peasants shouldn't say on Tax Day. I wish he'd used the word "vassals," just because I like it, and because it works.
So I'm going to use this post to point out some of the absolutely ridiculous and insulting ways the government spends our money. I suggest you drape your laptop to minimize the damage when blood shoots out of your eyes. (My source is primarily the 2013 Wastebook put out by Sen. Tom Coburn, which you can read in full here, conveniently in PDF form.)
- The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has doled out nearly $1 million (actually $914,000 since 2010) to The Popular Romance Project to "study" fictional romance: novels, fan fiction, self-help books, the Internet (where real romance goes to die), comics and songs. Taxpayer money to study Twilight. Oh, there goes the first splash of blood on my laptop screen.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has spent $500 million to help millionaires build mansions on the beach. In 2013, more than 100 individuals or families received loan guarantees for $500,000 or more from the USDA to buy property in Hawaii. And if these buyers default on their loans, the federal government will pay the banks 90% of the loans. Blood didn't shoot out my eyes that time because it all boiled away.
- Tax breaks for legal brothels! $17.5 million worth!
- Now that we're not quite as built up in the Middle East, there's a lot of equipment there that we're not using. So rather than sell it (which I'm not sure would be the best idea; who's going to buy it that we want to have it?), or better, ship it home, the military has decided to simply destroy SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS worth of war materials.
- Need I even mention healthcare.gov, the most expensive website ever to not be successfully built? More than $379 million has been flushed on that one.
- Facebook paid no taxes in 2013, and instead got a refund of $295 million. I imagine that it's a reward for recording (and probably reporting) every word we type, even if we choose not to ultimately post it.
- $1 million for a single bus stop in Arlington, VA. You do not get a gold bracelet for waiting there.
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spent $1,236,500 building apartments in Tempe, AZ for deaf senior citizens, with blinking lights to indicate the doorbell ringing or to warn residents that the garbage disposal is running. That seems nice. Oh, wait. HUD threatened to pull the funding unless 75% of these apartments are given to NON-DEAF tenants.
- HUD, a real gem, gave $65 million in relief for Hurricane Sandy. Hey, wait, you say: you live on the east coast! Shouldn't you understand the toll that Sandy took? I do. Even though our lights never so much as flickered during Sandy, a lot of people lost everything they owned and insurance companies were too backlogged to help right away. Except! This HUD money was spent not on relief to the affected, but instead on TV advertising campaigns. "New York is Open for Business!" "New Jersey: Stronger Than the Storm." Meanwhile, residents of Staten Island (for instance) didn't have power for months as we headed into winter.
- And here's my absolute favorite: According to a study that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded for $325,525, during arguments, "wives should calm down." THE GOVERNMENT SPENT A THIRD OF A MILLION OF OUR DOLLARS TO SAY SOMETHING THAT EVERY HUSBAND IN THE WORLD KNOWS NEVER TO SAY.
That brings me through page 47 of a 132 page report (not counting an additional 40-odd pages of citations). I didn't cite every example in those 47 pages. I'm dying of blood loss, and so should you be.
Happy Tax Day, fellow vassals!