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Your Tax Dollars With Jerks

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Once again you, the American people have shown that you possess a strain of philanthropic compassion unequaled by the rest of the world. Even if it comes under duress.  Not content to allow you to create or grow your own business, or contribute to the charity of your choice, those who control the national purse strings have found far better uses for your tax money than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, without so much as a “by your leave” or even a “Mother may I” has done a yeoman’s job of redistributing your wealth to a number of benighted industries, who without your largesse undoubtedly would have found their way to the ash heap of industry alongside Solyndra and Fisker.

55 million of your hard-earned clams were recently doled out to the likes of the Massachusetts Farm Winery Growers Association to help construct an “interactive wine trail” which is compatible with the various smart phones on the market, to help make one’s wine trail experience that much more meaningful. No word if a field sobriety test is part of trail although one might expect that walking a straight line at the conclusion might prove difficult, even with the assistance of Siri. I’m not sure what one needs to download on an interactive wine trail aside from the number of a good DUI attorney.

You also helped fund New Mexico’s effort to find new markets for the New Mexico green chili, since no one would ever equate the American Southwest with chili peppers. Expect a “Salsa Awareness Week” announcement to be made in the next presidential address that does not include a Sesame Street reference. (“Elmo is ready for another round of Margaritas!”)

In your benevolence, you helped the Alabama Watermelon Grower’s Association to promote well, eating watermelons. You also picked up part of the tab for the statewide tour of the Watermelon Queen. Enough said.


The Michigan Christmas Tree Association got a check from the USDA courtesy of you, to increase awareness of Michigan-grown Christmas trees. This is presumably to offset the revenue lost from millions of people in Michigan who buy Christmas ficus plants to celebrate the birth of Our Lord. Of course that is not taking into account the untapped Druid market out there; a demographic that may be in search of just the right piece of shrubbery to ring in the Winter Solstice. The USDA might actually be on to something, there.

And the fortunately, the federal government is not containing its efforts to the Yuletide season. In point of fact, the Department of Energy has been diverting at least some of its efforts away from superfluous matters such as oil and natural gas to promote “Energy-ween” Seriously. Stop laughing, I’m not kidding. You can protect your home this All Hallows’ Eve from things that go bump in the night with a Jack o’ Lantern carved with handy downloadable patterns of fluorescent light bulbs, windmills and solar panels. There has been no official announcement of the price tag for that effort; although I am sure the trick is on you. Forget about the treat. .

And then there is the small matter raised by Judicial Watch of the $200,000 spent by the USDA (again) with a Chicago firm on diversity training. Judicial Watch alleges on Fox News that some of that training included having participants in one session beat on tables while chanting “Our forefathers were illegal immigrants!” The Department of Agriculture maintains that there was no chanting involved, merely the repetition of offensive phrases to as part of an examination of stereotypes. But no chanting. How this promotes diversity and sensitivity is beyond me. Then again, this may be an effort by the USDA to help drum up business for the struggling Conference Table Industry.


And you thought the Farm Bill was a mess.

So as we move into the Christmas season, you may feel somewhat saddened by the fact that you have less to give to charity this year than in years past. But you may console yourself with the fact that you gave at the office. And apparently everywhere else for that matter. So be of good cheer. And I’ll see you on the Interactive Wine Trail.

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