Revenooer Rants: Five of our favorite fed fumbles
December 9, 2015
Let's hear it for Senator James Lankford (R-OK) who is keeping up the tradition of reporting to we common folk on some of the ridiculous, wasteful expenditures that Congress continues to foist on all of us.
A la football season, his recent publication of "Federal Fumbles" sets forth scores of examples of wasteful spending and stupid government regulations which cost all of us untold bucks each year.
Regarding the latter, it should be known that Obama and his minions have embarked on a path of churning out new regulations at a pace which exceeds 3,500 per year (16 times as many bills actually enacted in the recent year).
The National Association of Manufacturers has calculated the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 as $2.028 trillion (11 percent of gross domestic product)!
Further, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, families spent about $15,000 of their average household income on goods and services, just to cover the cost of federal regulations! Think you can find something else to spend your $15 grand on?
So, here are five of our favorite "fumbles" – only for starters. As space permits, we expect to mention more in the coming weeks:
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1: In 2009, the Department of Defense moved its Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) from Iraq to Afghanistan to help build up the latter's economy. Between 2011 and 2014, TFBSO spent about $43 million to build a natural gas automobile filling station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, only to find out later, rather unfortunately, that there was no natural gas distribution capability in the country!
2: The Department of Energy recently found it necessary to issue "higher efficiency standards" for household dishwashers in 2015, only allowing 3.1 gallons of water to wash each load of dishes (down from the 5 gallon level pontificated in 2012). But according to testing by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, dishwashers using only 3.1 gallons of water end up with so much residual food on the dishes that rewashing is necessary, thus completely negating any efficiency achieved.
3: The National Endowment for the Arts recently gave $25,000 of your money to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its planned museum, expected to cost about $388 million. Questionable whether the Academy needs your money for this project, given that in the summer of 2014 the Academy's own fundraising campaign was able to generate $250 million in "record time."
4: Thanks to the National Science Foundation, American tax dollars totaling at least $406 million will go to MIT researchers seeking the answer to that burning question: "Does media choice cause polarization or does polarization cause media choice?"
5: And finally this week – one of our favorites, particularly given the season of football: last year, the USDA gave $35,000 of your dough for the installation of solar panels by a norther Michigan brewery. Not to mention the 2015 grant to a Wyoming brewery for the same purpose! Now, we're all in favor of more and better beer, but considering the country's $19 trillion debt, are the suds worth the cost?
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.