As Rome Burned


During the decline of the Roman Republic, politicians realized that in order to stay in power all they had to do was to give the people what they wanted, like free bread and more gladiator games (I don't think they gave Roman school children Coliseum tours back then). Twenty-first century American politicians are far more sophisticated (The jury is still out on the people). They promise more jobs and better infrastructure.

I have always believed that lavish government spending is just a modern ploy to stay in office. Thus, I decided to do a little research on the question of government waste to see if there really was any hope. What I found should shock citizens on both sides of the aisle. Here are some ridiculous examples of wasteful government spending:

$146 million in flight upgrades, so federal employees do not have to fly coach.

$200 million for a reality show in India to advertise US cotton.

$141,000 to fund a Chinese study on swine manure.

$505,000 to promote specialty hair and beauty products for cats and dogs.

$121 million to host Department of Justice conferences.

$97,000 for floating outhouses for the convenience of Oregon fishermen.

$11,700 for “Star Wars Day.”

$520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003. The bridge does not lead anywhere.

$27 million for Moroccan Pottery Classes.

$25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties

$3.3 million to bail out a failing Alaska tourist boat.

$15 million to create private sector jobs in Russia for Russian scientists.

$750,970 grant to Smuttynose Brewery (that made a $5 million dollar profit last year) to build new brew tanks.

$639,884 to study new forms of beef jerky for our troops.

$505,000 to Sergeant's Pet Care Products (that earned $140 million in revenue last year) to create pet toothpaste and shampoo.

$450,000 to keep Lake Murray State Park Airport open. Planes do not land there, but the money was earmarked.

$325,000 to San Diego State University to create a Robot Squirrel in order to study interactions between squirrels and rattlesnakes.

$230,000 on Smokey the Bear balloons and statues for festivals.

$35,000 to Fullerton Public Library in California to install library book lending machines in train stations.

$25,000 for The Alabama Watermelon Queen promotional tour.

$20,000 to teach students how to juggle, hula hoop, and perform circus tricks.

$200,000 for a tattoo removal program in California.
$190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Wyoming.
$75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Georgia.

$500,000 to Alaska Airlines to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.

$100 million of taxpayer money lost on unused flight tickets by federal employees. The tickets were refundable, but they did not bother to collect the refund.

$1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta.

$2 billion paid annually by The Federal Conservation Reserve program to farmers not to farm their land.

Not enough? I can find another $1 trillion dollars in a half hour. I guess there is only one answer: Raise Taxes!

. . .


  1. Scary, and I fear you have only scratched the surface. If politicians were paid a bonus for elliminating waste we could have a tax cut and noone would notice any loss in service. Insead when Gvmt makes cuts, they only cut programs that are painful and noticable to punish us for insinuating there is any waste.

    Well done!!

    1. joeh: And they are insulting our intelligence.

  2. And yet they had to close the White House for tours. Soon we'll be paying our taxes and it leaves me with an ill feeling to see all the waste. I bet you could find another $1 Trillion and there would not be duplicates of the ones I hear about on the news.
    Good digging.

    1. Manzie: Sure. What benefit can the country get from teaching our children about our history?

  3. There are clearly plenty of places to cut spending. Our military is NOT one of them. But, that is the place where the focus goes. Cutting ALL of these things would make a significant difference and actually help. Yeah, let's stop putting money towards the bridge to nowhere, stop upgrading government employees to first class (because we can't afford that), stop funding Reality TV in India (and anywhere else), funding private golf courses, etc. This list is disgraceful. The fact that Democrats and Republicans haven't pulled these things up and made these a priority to be cut speaks volumes. Instead of hurting the middle class by raising taxes, let's cut the wasteful spending. Starting now.

    Thank you for sharing this list. I think it will open many eyes. It is shocking. We are BORROWING MONEY FROM CHINA to fund this crap. Unbelievable.

  4. How depressing. We used to get a newspaper back in the '70s called "Money" (I think that was the name; something along those lines) and it was full of all the ridiculous stuff the Federal government was throwing ridiculous amounts of money into. It's a bit disheartening that it hasn't improved.

    1. Susan: Sorry about the negativity. My newest post is uplifting.

  5. If people only realized how much their government wastes. Well, I think a lot of them do, but just don't think there's anything to be done about it. It's not going to be easy, and believe me, after this last election my first inclination was, "Why bother?" However, if we don't continue to fight for this country we really are going to lose it. Stuff like what's in this post just scratches the surface. It has to stop.

    1. Jennifer: We can vote - if they keep it honest.

  6. While many of us are well aware of the waste, this list is a truly remarkable ode to just how bad it is. What I would really like to know is what can the average citizen really DO about any of this? If you write to your representatives on any regular basis you end up relegated to the pile of letters from local 'crazies' who actually dare to care, especially out here on the left coast where people love to spend, spend, spend. I think most of those letters end up in the round file.
    I also can't help but notice that most of this stuff is way overpriced. Where do these prices come from??? Certainly not what the market will bear. Seems only government is willing to be double ripped off in this way! If you have any ideas on what can be done to actually stop this garbage, I'd love to know.

    1. Jasmine: Garbage stops itself. The Marxist plan has never worked and will never work. Every society that has tried it ended up the same way. They did not bring the low income population up, they took the high income population down. Dictators sat at the top. While he acts like he is a king, full of secrecy and full of himself, Obama does not have that kind of power. When those who are uninformed realize that they were duped and get hit in the pocketbook, things will begin to change.

      I just feel sorry for those who follow us. We have a moral responsibility to them, and we let them down because our system has a major flaw built in. The ignorant and uninformed can vote without any knowledge of the issues. That's the tragic flaw of a democratic nation.


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