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There’s A Reason Candidates Are All Talking About Change

You are just a dollar signFrom the Presidential race to Congressional and even local campaigns everybody seems to be talking about “change”, and I’ve finally figured out what they mean. It isn’t change as in “let’s change the world”; that’s so 1984… it’s change as in “we want your loose change”. Oh, yeah, “and your Piggybanks too”!

Now, traditionally economics and government spending has been a partisan divide, but that’s just the smoke and mirrors of their performance. The truth is both major parties crave separating you from every last penny you have, they just approach it from different directions. If I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say that’s a good strategic plan for not missing out on any opportunities to grab your money–but I’m not suggesting the 2 parties are in cahoots on the grassy knoll.

1 party views us as consumers and covets our dollars, “go shopping and you’ll help defeat terrorism”–and the other sees us as an endless tax base; and neither party gives a rat’s behind about we the people. That’s proved by their actions with 1 party in control for the past 2 years, and then the other in previous years and under the leadership of neither one was the party (as in celebration) of spending our money curtailed.

You are just a dollar sign.

If either party–or any candidate–really cared and viewed us as more than dollar signs they wouldn’t be talking about change, they’d be talking about repairs.

Listen, I’m no pool expert (not even a lifeguard), but I know if you have a leaky pool you don’t just keep pouring water into it. You fix the leaks first, and then refill it.

Our government has become a leaky pool and our pocketbooks the water, and instead of fixing the leaks they’re happy to add to them as long as none of us seem to object too loudly.

I’ve discussed wasteful Washington spending here before, but since it continues and grows I think it’s time to look at some of the craziness that’s going on again with the hopes that somebody might read this and take it upon themselves to call their Senators or Congress-person and ask “What the F#@% are you folks thinking?”

So, just this year (2008) alone so far here’s some of what our money is being wasted on:

  • $3.8 million for a lost river watershed project (could that be the same river watershed project that they spent $5 million building in 2005? And if so, how did they lose it?)
  • $7.5 million for grape and wine research. What the heck needs over $7 million worth of researching? Yearly wine sales are over $20 billion (that’s Billion with a B) so we know how to grow grapes and make and bottle the wine–and we know people will buy it; what could possibly need researching to the tune of $7.5 million here?
  • $4.8 million to research wood utilization, such as processing technologies for laminated veneer. Seriously, wood lamination has been around since Medieval times and veneer since the 1960’s–do we really need to spend almost $5 million researching these technologies of the past?
  • $2.8 million for an Native American/Native Alaskan liaison office. Are they joking? $2.8 million to help folks communicate? Give them iPhones and Twitter accounts and you could cut that down to under $20,000 annually-plus they’d be able to act all cool and stuff with their pretty hand gadgets.
  • $2.3 million (this one’s beautiful) to get teachers engaged in science and math. WHAT??? I don’t even know what that means, but shouldn’t the goal of education be to get students engaged? If the teachers need back-patting to become “engaged” in the subjects they teach then maybe they should start waiting tables instead.
  • $18 million for a records digitization program. Maybe they could strike a deal with Google’s G-Books program and get this done free? But if not, then can someone explain to me why we can’t read from paper records anymore? I’m all for moving into the future, but only when you can reasonably afford to do so, until then be happy with what you have. I’d love a Plasma Big Screen, but until I can afford it I’ll keep watching my low-def 56″ JVC.
  • $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center (Rep. Murtha[D-PA] loves this project), even though the Department of Justice (who administers the program) requested to close it down because its “operations are duplicative”. Meaning we’re spending $23 million on this program to do something we’ve already done somewhere else in government.
  • $1.8 million to remove aquatic growth in LA. Uh, we’re mowing the swamps now?
  • $8 million for the J.F.K. library (in addition to the $3.8 million it’s annually budgeted to receive). We’re spending $12 million for a library that doesn’t even lend out books?
  • $850,000 in Pennsylvania (thanks Senator Specter[R-PA]) for abstinence education. I could be a jerk here and point out that teen pregnancies are on the rise once again now that we’re educating our young on abstinence, but instead I’ll just ask why it’s always conservatives who believe funding sex education is wrong because it should be the parents who teach it, but they are the ones who support and find funding for non-sex education programs? If having sex is something parents should be talking to their children about, then shouldn’t not having sex also be? Let’s put this money to better use somewhere, M’kay…
  • $14.8 million [added] to the International Fund for Ireland. Now, as a good Irishman this one is near and dear to my heart, but as an American I simply can’t wrap my head around the concept of our tax dollars being used to “promote economic and social advance” in Ireland while we’re struggling with those same issues here today. Here’s an idea, England has long wanted that island under their thumb, so let England fund this one for bragging rights.
  • $3 million for an internationally recognized certification system for rough diamonds. Okay, there’s a ton of money in the diamond trade, can’t they fund their own certification system? And why are tax payers funding an international certification system that is voluntary for traders to use, thus meaningless from the start?
  • I have to stop here. That’s just a small listing of what’s been wasted but you can see a much larger listing for yourself at the CAGW web site.

    I’ve poked a little fun on some of these, but there’s really nothing funny about how our money is wasted every day in Washington, by both parties.

    They don’t care about you or I, regardless of their rhetoric or what their writers put out in Press Releases, their actions speak the truth of their convictions.

    Oh, and I’ve only commented at-length on the waste of tax dollars because we don’t really track consumer spending in the same ways. That’s unfortunate but hey, if you’ll just go shopping right now it’ll help us to defeat terrorism; and you’ll feel a little better inside playing with your new shiny gizmo that you buy.

    These are hard times for honest, hard working folks in America; but not so much so for those in the “club elite” of elected party officials.

    Feel free to comment here and tell me you think I’m an arse, or tell me you think I’m great (I love hearing that)–but what I really hope you tell me is that you’ve contacted your elected officials and asked them why they keep squandering your hard earned money.

    Image source: The Art of David Dees

    Technorati Tags: candidates, change, wasteful spending

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