Where Is That Money You Sent Into The IRS Today Really Going?

What do you think the government is going to do with the money you mailed into the IRS today?

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) wrote up a report that shows some of the worst examples of federal spending in 2008. Below are some of the most outrageous!

View entire report here.

“George Washington Slept Here” Travelling Museum – New Jersey ($49,000)
Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, carries the proud distinction of being one of the places George Washington slept during one of the more than 24,000 nights in his life – and they want everyone to know. To commemorate the occasion – and others like it through its history – the federal government has given the township $49,000 for a traveling museum to be displayed in schools, libraries and just about anywhere else people might be interested. Remarked one local congressman, “It's right that one of the largest and oldest communities in our state create a traveling historical museum.”

Bridging the Generational Gap with Nintendo Wii – Indiana ($3,905) The Institute of Museums and Library Sciences, an arm of the federal government dedicated to “strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas,” awarded a grant to Westfield Washington Public Library for the purchase of “a Nintendo Wii console, tv, camcorder and games.” According to the Indianapolis Star, “The Wii will be used to encourage patrons to meet and exchange ideas with other community members during multi‐generational gaming events held at the library.”

“The check’s in the mail” – IRS Mailings for Rebate Checks ($42 million)
When Congress passed legislation this year giving every taxpayer a stimulus check, the Department of the Treasury felt recipients needed a little advanced warning. It spent nearly $42 million on a mailing to inform taxpayers not that their checks had arrived, but merely that they would be there soon. Each piece of mail cost cents to print, process and deliver. Treasury officials insisted that the mailing was essential to “have as few people as possible confused.” The Las Vegas Sun wondered aloud: “why not include the explanation letters with the checks and use the other money for something useful, such as investigating tax fraud?”

Search for Alaskan Ice Worms – New Jersey ($326,733)
The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of more than $325,000 to Daniel Shain, professor at Rutgers University, to trek to Alaska in search of the elusive ice worm. Unfortunately, he and several students spent two weeks this August hunting through snow and ice for ice worms, only to come back empty‐handed. According to the Cherry Hill Courier Post, “Shain said his sixth Alaskan voyage was a continuous adventure that had everything he'd hoped for but new populations of worms.”

Studying American and Chinese Video Game Habits – California ($100,000)
American and Chinese video game playing habits have been too long overlooked by mainstream science, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). To remedy this, NSF gave University of California at Irvine a $100,000 grant to study the differences in how gamers from the U.S. and China play World of Warcraft, a popular online video game that allows opponents to do battle on the planet Azeroth. The key difference scientists discerned to date: “the Chinese tend to play a ‘more challenging’ version of the game.”

Search for Outer Space Aliens – California ($9.4 million)
Some examples of federal spending are truly out of this world, and $9.4 million in grants to the SETI Institute in California is no exception. The SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute is devoted to searching for life in outer space, but has not had any luck yet. One member of Congress was able to secure $1.6 million from the budget of the Defense Department for this effort. Commenting several years ago on public investments for SETI, John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists remarked, “I think most people think there are aliens out there. With the limitations in space and time I don't think we'll ever see any of them. But communicating with them is another matter. It's awfully expensive and difficult to try to send a human being through space, but sending radio signals, that's cheap.”


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