Happy Tax Freedom Day, everyone.
All the money you’ve made this year up to yesterday went to pay your taxes — federal, state, and local — for 2008. Now, finally, all the money you make will finally be yours.
Anyone feeling generous today? Anyone want to make a big donation to charity today? No. Didn’t think so.
What exactly is the government doing with your tax money? Good question. Some answers:
- $11,808,756 for 12 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $3,829,008 for the Lost River Watershed Project; $3,226,257 for the GIS Center of Excellence; $1,529,220 for the Appalachian Fruit Lab; $521,325 for aquaculture product and marketing development; and $112,209 for feed efficiency research.
- $492,000 by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) for Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc., to develop a solid oxide fuel cell at the Fuel Cell Prototyping Center at Stark State College of Technology in Canton. Rolls-Royce Group reported a net profit of £600 million, or more than $1.2 billion in 2007, meaning the company could take .041 percent of its profit and pay for the research itself.
- $1,648,850 for the Shedd Aquarium by Senate appropriator Richard Durbin (D-Ill), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), House appropriator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). The aquarium’s website says the facility was a “gift to the people of Chicago from John Graves Shedd, president and chairman of the board of Marshall Fields & Company.” This aquarium receives 2 million visitors per year and has 36 corporate benefactors. At the end of 2004 (the last year for which information is available), the aquarium had a fund balance of approximately $200 million. That’s a lot of liquid assets.
- $188,000 by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine) for the Lobster Institute. The group’s website says, “The LOBSTER INSTITUTE is a cooperative program of research and education with the lobster industry at the University of Maine…” Not only has the Lobster Institute been working on its “Lobster Cam (TheLobstercam.com),” one its major accomplishments has been lobster dog biscuits: “Your dog can now be a lobster connoisseur. Blue Seal Feeds, Inc. has launched the newest addition to its dog biscuit line – Blue Seal Lobster ‘Bisque-its’ – based on a concept devised by the Lobster Institute at The University of Maine, and their commercialization partner Saltwater Marketing LLC.” That isn’t much of a treat for taxpayers.
- $2,400,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for renovations to Haddad Riverfront Park. On February 1, 2008 The Charleston Gazette quoted Chairman Byrd as saying, “Maintaining and improving Haddad Riverfront Park is a top priority for the city of Charleston.” If it is so important, the 51,342 residents of Charleston could each pay $46.75 to the city instead of forcing the price tag on the hundreds of millions of Americans who probably will never visit the facility.
- $126,000 by House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee member Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) for the Bibliographical Society of America in New York for the First Ladies Museum in Canton and for the First White House Library Catalogue. The museum was founded by Rep. Regula’s wife, Mary Regula, while his daughter, Martha Regula, is the director.
- $14,878,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). IFI, established in 1986, is an organization whose objectives are to promote economic and social advance and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland. Despite the fact that peace has broken out in Ireland and the Irish economy is the strongest in Europe, U.S. taxpayers continue to fund Sesame Workshop, a shorter Northern Ireland version of Sesame Street; Ben & Jerry’s; a “conference to highlight development opportunities for chefs;” and two three-star hotels, one of which is no longer in business. CAGW has identified $249.6 million for this project since 1995.
Our forefathers said “enough is enough” when England put a tax on their breakfast beverage. And look at us now.
Politicians from both parties are abusing the trust we put in them to use our money wisely, and instead are just wanting more. We’re paying (collectively) $588 billion combined on Medicaid and Medicare, $608 billion on Social inSecurity, and $261 billion in interest on our national debt to other countries. Yet our lawmakers want to spend more on a socialized healthcare system; they want to spend more on creating new government jobs by creating new government departments that are less efficient than private industry and charities; they want to spend more on bailing out banks; they want to spend more on bailing out mortgages so people don’t have to take responsibility for making bad decisions; they want to spend more by offering insurance to people who live in a flood zone because private insurers know it’s a bad decision and won’t insure them; and they want to spend more on special interest groups in the name of buying votes.
And they want to pay for it all by raising your taxes.
Then they can turn around and say, “Vote for me! Look how much I’ve done for you!” And we, like the self-absorbed sheep we are, keep voting them back in.
Can someone explain to me how exactly this is different from de Toqueville’s observation?
And how long before we say “enough is enough”?