The Tax Man Cometh -- for This??
Dear Readers: Another April 15 has come and gone, and we now know that for at least 47 percent of Americans it was painless. Each year, the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste publishes its "Congressional Pig Book." This book features the outrageously wasteful ways Congress spends our money on pork projects and earmarks. Here are a few highlights — or in this case low-lights — of what you have paid for with your 2009 taxes.
— $800,000 to the University of South Alabama for oyster rehabilitation. First Tiger Woods and Jessie James, and now oysters need to attend rehab. Who's next, snails?
— $2.6 million for conservation and recovery of the monk seals population and Pacific crustaceans in Hawaii. If I'm not mistaken, seals eat crustaceans, so we could save half of that money if Hawaii would just pick a side. C'mon: crustaceans or seals?
— $200,000 for a tattoo-removal violence-prevention program in California. Wouldn't it be cheaper if people with tattoos simply paid for their own long-sleeved shirts?
— $150,000 for Maine lobster research. Members of Congress demand only the finest lobsters in the Capitol cafeteria.
— $2.2 million for grape genetics in New York. Apparently, members of Congress also demand only the finest wine be served with their lobster in the Capitol cafeteria.
— $866,000 for stable fly control in Nebraska. I am surprised the government didn't just mandate that every Nebraskan purchase a fly swatter. Citizens who could not afford a flyswatter would be eligible for swatter subsidies or put into a government purchasing exchange. Flypaper would be made illegal in a compromise to gain the support of PETA.
— $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management in Iowa.
— $139,000 to the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference. Sorry, Mr. Crab, but you'll have to get in line behind the pigs for your training.
— $254,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute. So many jokes, so little time.
— $206,000 for wool research in Montana, Texas and Wyoming. Maybe sheep should apply for Pell grants and attend the Montana Sheep Institute.
— $3 million to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to help make data received from NASA satellite images more accessible to the public. Duh, ever hear of the Internet?
— $115,000 to train the next generation of weather forecasters in California. I can do the training for free: 100 percent chance of earthquakes, wild fires, mudslides and oceans of red ink. Here's your diploma.
— $400,000 to save the 1920s home of cosmetic pioneer Carl Weeks in Des Moines, Iowa. You just can't make this stuff up with Congress.
— $500,000 for the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center for Informed Decision Making and Design to develop intelligent systems designs and adaptive robotics. This is money well spent only if we can get every Washington politician and staffer to attend and develop informed decision-making skills and intelligence.
— $1.2 million for Brown Tree Snake control in Hawaii and Guam. Down here in Texas, we just use a shotgun or a garden hoe to kill our snakes. Unfortunately, even after our best efforts some of the snakes still manage to make it to Washington.
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