Government Waste and Taxes


I was watching the coverage of the Republican primary results on Tuesday night, and as I was channel surfing I came across Bill O’Reilly’s talking points memo with which he opens each show. I have mixed emotions about Mr. O’Reilly—his understanding of markets and economics leaves something be desired, but generally speaking his talking points memos are pretty good.

The one on Tuesday night was focused on a conference that a government agency called the General Services Administration held outside of Las Vegas that cost the tax payers $820,000 for 300 attendees!

First, I didn’t even know we had a “General Services Administration” but apparently it’s been around for a while (President Truman created it) and it seems to be a sort of procurement arm of the Federal government.

Regardless, the agency spent $820,000 on this conference which consisted of $146,000 on catering and $130,000 to scout the location!

To be fair, upon hearing of this President Obama promptly fired the head of the agency, but this is anecdotally representative of why some people so vehemently hate paying taxes.

I think most rationale people realize we all need to pay taxes—we need a military, roads, the FAA, inspection of our food, etc. I don’t think most people mind paying for those things.

What they do mind is having their hard earned money pissed away by a bunch of people who seems to have no regard for the effort it took to earn that money. It’s a respect and waste issue, and it’s been going on for years—well beyond the current administration, although I think they’ve exacerbated the problem.

I believe it would be a good idea to make everyone in the country pay their taxes by writing a check each quarter, just like I have had to at different points in my career, and which I do presently.

It’s one thing to have your taxes automatically deducted from your paycheck as so many do—human psychology makes it so that you really don’t even notice the cost. They money was never in your account, so you don’t really miss it when it’s gone.

But, to write a check to the U.S. Treasury—and to have that check be the biggest check you have written the entire year (most likely) and to get no direct benefit for writing it (as opposed to spending that same amount of money on a TV or boat or something) is a totally different story. It makes you appreciate that taxes are real money that is yours—it’s not just some numbers on a statement that you don’t ever receive.

Then, to know that much of that large amount of money that is coming out of your savings account will be wasted by a bunch of jack asses paying 130k to scout a 5 star hotel to have some convention, makes you want to scream in anger.

I believe waste is at the heart of the tax debate, and why so many in this country don’t want their taxes raised. It’s not that they don’t mind paying their fair share—it’s that they don’t want even more of their money being completely and utterly wasted.

The utter disregard and lack of respect for the people’s money is at epidemic levels in this country, as evidenced by the explosion of government spending over the last ten years, and sadly it continues unabated. What a disgrace.