I had a relative who had a good income but was always broke and crying the blues. At the same time, he always seemed to have money for cigarettes and booze, ordering pizza, paying for premium movie and sports channels on cable TV, and anything else he wanted.

That was enough to make me shudder, but when I learned that he wasn’t just living from payday to payday, he was actually living from payday loan to payday loan, I was appalled. He kept saying that he just couldn’t make ends meet and I tried to give him some advice on controlling his spending, but he didn’t want to hear it. Give up his cigarettes? They were only a couple of bucks a pack! Cancel his sports channels? They were only $15 a month! I tried to explain to him that those little numbers added up to a lot, but to no avail. He was going to do what he was going to do and damn the consequences.

We’ve got a lot of people just like him running our government.

I keep hearing about all of the money we’re spending on providing medical care for illegal aliens and educating their children. That’s a popular complaint and probably has some validity. But what about all of the other millions of tax dollars, yours and mine, that nobody seems to notice or care about?

Case in point – An Associated Press news story reports that lawmakers from both parties spent nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money in the past two years to build improved versions of the Army’s Abrams tank. This even though the Army has reported over and over that it doesn’t need or want the new tanks!

That’s right, while the Defense Department is looking for ways to trim its budget and still maintain standards of training, a couple of influential congressmen, Representative Jim Jordan and Senator Rob Portman, both Republicans from Ohio, are insisting on the Abrams tank project. Not because the tanks are crucial for our national defense, but because the tanks are made in Lima, Ohio.

Another recent news story by Reuters reveals that for more than a decade the Central Intelligence Agency has paid tens of millions of dollars in cash to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The story says that this “ghost money” was delivered in cash to buy favor from Karzai’s administration.

Think about that for a minute. Every penny of taxes that you and everybody you know will ever pay in their lives wouldn’t make a day’s interest on the money being wasted just in these two examples. And this while senior citizens in America and the working poor cannot afford health care! How about we keep our money at home where it will do us some good and let all of those Third World countries hate us for free instead?

These are just two examples of the insanity running rampant in Washington on both sides of the aisle. How much more is going on that we don’t hear about? Yes, I know, compared to the trillions of dollars we owe, those numbers may seem like a drop in the bucket. But just like those cigarettes and cable TV channels, a million here, a million there, and it adds up pretty quickly.

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19 Comments on A Million Here, A Million There

  1. Michael Burris says:

    Every coin has two sides and you need to look at both of them. Myself, my wife, my son and my son-in-law all work in production of the M1A2 Abrams tank here in Lima. Take away that project and you will be putting hundreds of good hard working people out of work. What will that do for our local economy? Would you rather see that money going to support welfare moms who refuse to work or to build tanks to keep our soldiers safe and help them come home alive?

  2. Gary says:

    Nick
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I too have said many times we need to stop sending millions of our tax dollars overseas to countries that hate us. I also think our country needs to keep out of other countries affairs. If their people don’t care about their rights, than it’s not for us to interfere. If things are so bad perhaps that countries peoples should protest for themselves.

    Regarding Michael B. and his tank building jobs. Perhaps sense the Army doesn’t need more tanks than perhaps his company should think of building something the Army really needs.

  3. Fred Hammer says:

    WINK TV in SW Florida reported last week, that the government has been spending more than $400,000 per year to roll marijuana cigarettes for just FOUR PEOPLE! Enough furor has been created with this report, that some legislators are now talking reform. More examples of ridiculous spending need to be brought to light and eliminated.

  4. John Mayleben says:

    Michael, I think that Nick’s point may have been missed…

    If the Army brass doesn’t think that we need a new tank and that the old one is perfectly fine for their mission,shouldn’t we trust that they know what they are talking about?

    If your plant can’t build the tank, then someone there needs to figure out what else to build. If they can’t, then maybe it should close.

    yes it is hard in that situation for the workers impacted (I live in Michigan, let me tell you about plant closings….) but It is not the role of government to provide jobs in a normal economy.

  5. Dave Mingus says:

    Exactly Nick, it’s time to quit saving the world and start thinking of our own country. They don’t want us there anyway, so why are we? Time to take care of our own, and I mean our own, not the illegals either!!

  6. Paul J Stough says:

    Every dollar the government spends has a constituency. What would happen in Ohio had the two senators voted to end the production of the Abrams tanks?

    I would bet large amounts of money had they done so, they would have challengers from within their party, or from the other party in the next election cycle who would say that these senators cost jobs in Ohio, and should not be re-elected. Then there would be those with the selfish interests who would support these senators opponents, and perhaps they would lose their seats in the Senate. I will say it once again, as Pogo said, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us”.

  7. Candace says:

    Tanks in Ohio are just 1 tiny example of the poor decisions being made in DC. Bridges to nowhere and millions to “help” other nations are too numerous to mention.

    When America cant even take care of its own citizens in our states we have no business trying to “help out” other countries.

    That would be like a family on welfare here buying cigarettes for a person in Russia!

    But the politicians think it makes perfect sense … because they want a free ride too. Shameful.

  8. ken turner says:

    I would be real interested in hearing what the real men in the Army said about not wanting the new tanks! My dad went through the whole wwII in tanks and told of hell on wheels, They stayed inside them for days on end and the smell and such was something
    else! Now ,I don’t know but maby the new ones are like rvs and have johns and such in them . I do know about aircraft,and can tell you that when we started to get up dated things ,like heat,
    a/c ,cooking gallies, heads,sleeping racks and other things that there was an up-roar heard far and wide. Why did we need such things! We were only flying 14 – 16 hr. flights north and around Iceland, And by the way we knew we only had 4 min.to get into a raft if we went down!Give them a break people, give our troups the best we can and pray they make it home!!

  9. Bill Daines says:

    Alot of waste from DC. Lets put one Abrams every 50 miles on our borders/crossings and one in every town and city in the U.S. Then start talking U.S. comes first.
    No support to other Countries.
    No imports, american made only and watch us grow!
    Bill:)

  10. Candace says:

    I like Bill:-)’s idea.
    Now THAT makes sense!

  11. Connie Bradish says:

    How about this one: “spent at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that have nothing in them. At last count, Uncle Sam has 13,712 such accounts, each containing zero dollars.”

    The real problem is bureaucracy. The federal government is SO LARGE that no one really knows what is going on. What we really need is for each department to have to cut 10% out of their budgets. They would sure find real fast how to order fewer widgets and thingamajigs. They wouldn’t chop their salaries but maybe they would do things like close checking accounts they don’t need.

    Or maybe we need someone like Dave Ramsey to go in and clean house !!!!!

  12. Croft says:

    More like “A Billion here, a Billion there”:

    The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.
    The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

    In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl...../usa.iraq1

  13. Croft says:

    And before you all jump to blame Obama, this was under the watch of the other guy.

  14. cc says:

    Michael Burris how about retrofitting your company to building buggy whips?
    Croft: How about naming 2 “capable politicians”(I know oxymoron) not in your party or your state. –same to me or other voters–

    Yikes. The guvm’t can cut my SS “entitlement??” the same percentage they cut foreign aid and welfare…..IF … they use it for true needy and/or veterans or pay down the nat’l debt.

  15. Jodie S. says:

    The Boston Marathon bombings and 9/11 remind us that we have to pay attention to foreign countries. We could spend our money more wisely, however. Having a budget, which would force the country to set some priorities, would be a big step in solving spending problems.

  16. Robert Wang says:

    Cape Coral Fl just passed a 7% tax on electricity to make up for a $20M shortfall in tax revenue to maintain our city. Your first example of what needs cut does not apply to politicians it would seem. We asked the pols to cut costs to meet the budgeted dollars coming in but that falls on deaf ears. This is a Republican led city and fiscal responsibility is an unknown commodity. It is at all levels of the political spectrum not just the National level.

    Tanks were pretty worthless in the Nam from my Marine grunt DMZ perspective, kept getting stuck. Just sayin.

    While in the private sector we went from 1400 employees in the plant to the current 700, doing the same work. The folks on the dole (anyone getting a government check) have not had their come to Jesus GM moment. It is long overdue.

  17. Paul J Stough says:

    Robert Wang said, ” The folks on the dole (anyone getting a government check) have not had their come to Jesus GM moment. It is long overdue.”

    I would guess that would include the military, FBI, CIA, and the like?

  18. Pam says:

    Senators and Congressmen are afraid to vote for any military cuts because it will be used against them in their next election. Look at the number of times you have heard someone in a debate say “My opponent voted to cut military spending…” or “my opponent voted against the xxx Weapons Act!” Nevermind that the bills in question may have involved cutting something extremely wasteful, the American electorate hears the sound bite and rarely listens to the explanation.

    Of course, that doesn’t absolve the politicians of responsibility. They should still do the right thing and base their votes on what is truly important. I just think we, as voters, have some responsibility, too. I guarantee you that right now, there are political operatives preparing commercials to use against the Senators who voted against funding for the Abrams Tanks and those commercials will be very effective because most voters fall for that kind of rhetoric. We get the government we deserve.

  19. Allan says:

    There is a real problem with run-away spending in government. It has enough income but too many unnecessary expenditures. Responsible families, businesses, even state governments operate on a budget. The federal government does not but needs to. Going in debt and printing money to cover shortfalls is just plain irresponsible. If every department of the government knew their funds would be limited they should be able to cut their wasteful programs and expenditures to keep the essential ones.

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