The US government has a large deficit on their hands, and for the past 3 years there has been a lot of gridlock on how exactly to get it under control. Parties from the left and right have called for a ban on what is known as "pork" spending."
Pork is often tucked away in bills to secure votes on a bill so that it passes, and in exchange the sponsors of the bill will allocate money to that Congressperson's district or state. The ban is supposed to stop this practice in order to curb wasteful government spending, but that doesn't mean the waste is gone.
Here are a few things Congress spends millions of tax dollars on annually:
1. Congressional Franks: These mailers are sent to inform registered voters of their Congressperson's legislative achievements, positions on critical issues, and a general overview on what's been done for the represented district.
While this literature resembles a campaign brochure, it is not classified as campaign expenditure, therefore it is paid by taxpayers. In total, Congress spent $13.1 million in 2011 on Congressional "Franking." It's important to note, many Congresspersons have started to make the transition to email in recent years.
2. Federal Printing: No, I'm not talking about the federal government printing money (that's another blog), I'm talking about the money it costs in office printing (i.e. printer machines, ink, upkeep, paper, etc.).
The federal government (not including the Defense department) spent nearly $1.3 billion in 2010 on office printing, and this doesn't include the above mentioned "franks." The Department of Defense spent almost $1.4 billion alone in copying, printing, and faxing in 2010.
3. Silly Studies: The government is supposed to grant money to scientists in order study things that are in the nation's interests, and therefore worthy of tax dollars. However, I am not sure how anyone will justify these scientific studies or the bills they racked up on taxpayers.
• Internet Dating Study: The National Science Foundation (NFS) allocated nearly a quarter of a million dollars to study how Americans find love using the Internet.
• Studying World of Warcraft (and other virtual games): What started out in 2008 as a $100,000 NFS grant to a professor at the University of California to study how players collaborate and approach various challenges within the game, has turned to almost $3 million in taxpayer funds since. To top it off, the professor published her findings in 2010 and has still received grants to continue her research.
• A scientist from Temple University used a $66,638 NFS grant to study the influence of political programming (i.e. Fox News, MSNBC) in the mass media, testing the claim that such programming polarizes the electorate. What did he find? That the electorate may be more polarized because of increased interest in national politics.
While both sides of the isle make it seem that they are trying to cut spending, they should take a lesson from Main Street and cut the small waste first. While this may not make a huge dent in the deficit, it will sure allow the bigger programs from being severely cut.
As always, this is the IRS Hitman looking out for the American taxpayer. If you find yourself on the other end of a substantial tax debt, give my team a call at 888-415-1337 or fill out the submission form for a free consultation. We are A rated with the Better Business Bureau and we'll give you the whole truth on your situation.