Awarding $170 million to a pornographer who wants to hand out condoms around the world is just one of the U.S. government’s “top 10 spending outrages” this year, according to the Libertarian Party.
The list – whose release was purposely timed to coincide with April 15, the deadline for filing federal income tax – details “all the crazy ways the government will spend your money,” said the party in a statement.
“Rampant government waste, fraud and abuse only adds insult to the injury inflicted by the income tax,” said Geoffrey Neale, national chair of the Libertarian Party. “On tax day, it’s time to remind ourselves how right humorist P.J. O’Rourke was when he said giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teen-age boys.”
Here are the party’s most egregious federal spending items, according to its statement:
- “Giving $170 million to a pornographer who wants to hand out condoms around the world. The U.S. Agency for International Development awarded the grant to Population Services International, or PSI, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to curb sexually transmitted diseases. PSI was founded in 1971 by Philip Harvey, who runs a massive mail-order pornography firm called Adam and Eve.
- “Funding a $1.8 million study of algae in hot water. The funding, contained in an omnibus appropriations bill, was given to the Bozeman, Mont., Center on Life in Extreme Thermal Environments, according to Citizens Against Government Waste.
- “Authorizing a $1 million program at Auburn University to train dogs to spot terrorist activity. The money was earmarked by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., in a bill funding the Veterans Administration and Housing Department.
- “Spending $3.6 million for ‘team-building’ exercises for the Postal Service. At a series of employee retreats, hundreds of Postal workers played children’s games, sang ‘We Are Family,’ wrote Christmas carols, went on treasure hunts, dressed in cat costumes, took scat singing lessons, and talked to imaginary wizards, magicians and mad scientists at staff meetings.
- “Mailing Social Security checks to fugitives. Though a 1996 law prohibits the payments, 36,752 fugitives have been collecting benefits anyway, costing taxpayers $223.7 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- “Paying $560,000 to trim weeds at the Montana Sheep Institute – money contained in a $397.4 billion appropriations bill passed by Congress earlier this year.
- “Authorizing pay raises for Congress and other federal workers. Senators and representatives raised their salaries by $5,000 this year, to $154,700. President Bush also handed a 4.1 percent pay increase in February to federal workers, even though many of the private-sector employees footing the bill are taking pay cuts and even losing their jobs in a difficult economy.
- “Hiring 2 million government workers – in Iraq. As part of the postwar plan to ‘promote stability,’ the Pentagon wants to pay the salaries of 2 million soldiers, teachers, police officers and other government workers in Iraq – in effect putting one out of every 10 Iraqis on the U.S. government payroll.
- “Selling expensive government property for pennies. According to government auditors, the Energy Department sold a $9,000 copier to NTS Development Corp. for 5 cents, and sold the firm 23 trucks worth $448,000 for 17 cents each.
- “Guaranteeing even more waste, fraud and abuse next year by increasing the federal budget to a record $2.3 trillion.”
Commented Neale: “Considering all the ways the government is already squandering your money, giving politicians a bigger budget is like giving those teen-age boys another shot of whiskey and a faster car. The only way to protect the nation from these reckless spendaholics is to cut the politicians off for good by ending the income tax.”