NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Wasted Tax Dollars

June 17, 2014

A close look at the federal budget reveals a number of ridiculous spending projects, reports Michael Sargent, staff member at the Heritage Foundation. Too many taxpayer dollars are being wasted on unnecessary projects. Sargent identifies nine of them, including:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program has used $173 million to promote American businesses' sales overseas. Through this program, taxpayer funds have been used to promote the mohair industry and create an animated squirrel for walnut advertisements.
  • The International Trade Administration's Featured U.S. Exporters (FUSE) program is aimed at helping U.S. businesses export their products. Beneficiaries of the program include a lip balm business and a wooden sunglasses manufacturer called iWood.
  • The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office Grant Program has given millions in federal grants to "green" technology companies, including a $2.5 million grant to reduce the amount of energy expended when roasting coffee beans.
  • The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) catalogues scientific and research papers that can be ordered by taxpayers for a fee. But the program loses money annually, as the majority of the papers in the NTIS catalogue are already available online, for free.
  • The Small Business Association's Startup America Partnership promises to invest $2 billion in start-ups over five years. Who exactly are the beneficiaries? They include a weight-sensing skateboard company and a lollipop dispensary.

Every year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on ways that the government can eliminate wasteful spending. Unfortunately, the report is often ignored. Sargent urges the creation of an independent Waste Commission to eliminate duplicative programs and identify wasteful and frivolous federal expenses. The commission could present its recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

Source: Michael Sargent, "9 Government Programs Your Tax Dollars are Being Wasted on," The Daily Signal," June 12, 2014.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues