With Taxmageddon looming, it would be reassuring to know that our tax money is  at least going to worthy causes. Unfortunately, The Heritage Foundation’s recently released report, “Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012,” lists examples of extremely wasteful spending.

Here are five particularly egregious ways the government is misspending your money:

  1. A reality TV show in India. The Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program spends $200 million a year to help U.S. agricultural trade associations and cooperatives advertise their products in foreign markets. In 2011, it funded a reality TV show in India that advertised U.S. cotton.
  2. Studying pig poop. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on swine manure and a $1.2 million grant to the United Nations for clean fuel promotion.
  3. Amtrak snacks. Federally subsidized Amtrak lost $84.5 million on its food and beverage services in 2011 and $833.8 million over the past 10 years. It has never broken even on these services.
  4. Using military exercises to boost biofuels. The U.S. Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuels for $12 million—or almost $27 per gallon—to conduct exercises to showcase the fuel and bring it closer toward commercialization. It is the largest biofuel purchase ever made by the government.
  5. Conferences for government employees. In 2008 and 2009 alone, the Department of Justice spent $121 million to host or participate in 1,832 conferences.

To read more about where your money goes, please click here.

Do you think your taxes should be increased to fund more programs like these?

Comments (27)

John Howell - October 19, 2012

These five examples are but a few of what should be eliminated.

Ellen Elmore - October 19, 2012

No. I don’t think taxes should be increased for ANY reason especially now with the economy in such peril.

Paul Phillips - October 19, 2012

Cotton farmers would probably have benefited more if the money had just been handed to them. I think Romney had it right when he said if a program has us borrowing money from China to pay for it, it probably should go.

R Schmitt - October 19, 2012

I agree with all but the Amtrak snacks. Even though it will never break even, Amtrak & passenger rail is a part of our basic transportation infrastructure and therefore part of national security. It must be supported in every reasonable manner.

Helen Bono - October 19, 2012

Tax dollars should be used here in the U.S. for the benefit of our citizens. Many roads and bridges are in drastic need of repair as well as other facilities used by the public. Frivolous expenditures should be curtailed as one means of paying our enormous debt. Some electees are not concerned with upholding their oath of office, but spend time thinking of novel ways to spend someone else’s money. Only truthful history books should be used to better educate today’s students on how this country was founded and all about its principles. No freebies that are not enjoyed by citizens in good standing should be given to illegal aliens, visitors, or others. Cut the bloated salaries of elected officials as well as establishment of term limits, and have them subject to the same rules and
regulations as ordinary citizens. We read of some who owe tremendous income taxes. How are they allowed to
roam free and yet press ordinary citizens who owe much
less? Congress should be a prime example of frugality in spending and to keep within established budgets.

Rob Schmidt - October 19, 2012

These five examples point out what all of us should be aware of – give money to the government and they will find a way to spend it – regardless of its use to the American people. We could bring down the Federal government almost overnight if everyone simply changed their W-2 withholding exemptions to 10 dependents. This would suck the money right out of the Feds and cripple them for weeks while they tried to sort it all out. Any takers?

Michael Charter - October 19, 2012

Perhaps President Obama should have seen fit to instruct the Secretary of the Navy to purchase biofuels from one of his, “Green Energy”, subsidized companies; at a much lower cost.

Linda G. White - October 19, 2012

I do not believe the government should fund programs which are the responsibility of another country (India), industry (pig farming), private company (Amtrack), using military to test for a private company, or government conferences costing $121 M, especially excluding “social issues training” which may be done in a memo.

Jack Leishear - October 20, 2012

Forty seven percent don’t care, since they are not paying any taxes.

Perley Patrick - October 20, 2012

This is only the tip of the iceberg

Ronald Kirkland - October 20, 2012

no there is no reason for the amtrak losses and all of the other expenses should be cut to the bone

Donald Vastlik - October 20, 2012

We must have a major change in DC! This is only anorther area of waste.

Charles Stone - October 20, 2012

These are all very good examples of costs running wild. These and similar boondoggles should be selected for deletion from the operating budgets of their agencies; force them to give back the $, then if they want to continue to pursue such programs, they can decide where to find funding within their remaining budget. Do not, however, allow future budgets to include such waste without 2/3 majority override by Senate and House recorded votes.

EDWARD MC KIERNAN - October 20, 2012

continue to do the work you are doing.it is through your efforts that we learn of such government abuse of AMERICAN TAXPAYERS.THE QUESTION CONTINUES

Cathy Stevenson - October 20, 2012

No, It makes me sick to actually know what they are spending our hard earned tax dollars on! Reality shows in another country, pig poop! Really this has got to stop!!!
Wasting money we do not have! Going into debt with China for crap like this, make it stop please soon!

Holly Chapo - October 20, 2012

What utterly useless and dreadful programs!! Absolutely, the taxpayers should not be funding them or any like them.

Loretta Bates - October 20, 2012

No, I do not want my taxes used to fund programs like the ones above. More power to you to help stop reckless spending of this government.

Paul Sorensen - October 20, 2012

I strongly favor eliminating tax dollars for those programs & relegating any financial support for them to private funding. I also believe the E.P.A. & D.O.A. are really excess baggage in our overly bureacratic government.

L. Kaiser - October 21, 2012

It cost more in a food resource, water, and gasoline, to produce one gallon of ethanol. Crappy idea!
Nature gas is a clean source of fuel and America has tons of it, but is it good enough for military operations? That I am not sure. Love to know!
The only fuel that is used that is less costly than gasoline, is used cooking oil, solar, and wind. Cooking oil may be fine to use for the everyday American’s car, solar, great, wind, don’t know of wind power for that purpose. I am willing to learn, though.
However, for our military, they should be using the correct fuel, for the BEST equipment, we can provide for them and their safety!

Pamela Lee - October 21, 2012

IF, and I stress the If part, the ‘US’ Environmental Agency is going to be studying ‘pig poop’, why is it not studying US pig poop?
Stupid question?
Stupid study.

William M Snedden - October 21, 2012


Don Kincaid - October 22, 2012

In our present economic situation the misuse of funds in endeavors as stated here are perfect examples of malfeasance.

Steven Rankens - October 22, 2012

Two of these three examples show clearly that Obama and his administration are re-distributing our tax dollars to other countries to create jobs for foreigners! What about the stimulus money that went to Finland to help them build electric cars? What about the stimulus money that went to Brazil to help them drill for oil, “Obama said we will be your best customer”? Money sent to China, Mexico, Canada? He is funding jobs overseas and on the north american continent, “I believe in re-distribution” is what Obama said when he was a senator. It’s happening right now. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Unemployment is actually around 10%, the government unemployment rate is below 4%! It’s time to fire some federal workers in November! The government is a “Business” and should be run like one, the problem is the CEO has no business experience. GET OUT THE VOTE!

Wayne, La - October 22, 2012

There is probably 5 trillion dollars that goes to projects like these. We could wipe out the debt just by eliminating the trash bin of programs.

Craig H - October 24, 2012

And the Constitutional authority for these programs comes from where…?

Sally Gee - October 26, 2012


James Haskin - November 9, 2012

Amtrak supported? What are you, one of the employees taking the goodies home? Commercialize the damn thing and let them send it to China!
Placing complaints here is like trying to kill a fly with a string, it does no good. Write your congressperson and raise Hell…We’ve had enough!

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