Your Tax Dollars With Jerks II: The Bizarre

Lincoln Brown
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Posted: Oct 26, 2012 12:01 AM

The point has been made ad infinitum that taxes will go up this coming year. But before the government comes slouching into the living room with its hands in its pockets asking for another advance in its allowance, you might want to ask “What did you do with the money I gave you?”

Taxation for Tourist Traps

When I was a kid, we would periodically go on trips around Ohio or adjacent states. Unfortunately I never did see Rock City. Often it would be something educational such as a historic fort or village of some kind. We would wander around log cabins, looking at beds made out logs, spinning wheels, rusty farm implements and maybe if I was lucky there might be an old rifle on display.

These places all smelled and looked the same and had the same merchandise in every one of their gift shops: imitation Davy Crockett hats, cap-gun flintlocks and glass jars of hard candy. Now I love history, but let’s be realistic, if you’ve seen one reconstructed log cabin, you’ve pretty much seen ‘em all.

But then there are plenty of other historic sites out there for which you footed the bill. In 2011 $5.1 million went overseas to preserve historic sites. You spent $700,000 in tax dollars to preserve the ancient city of Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania. I have to admit I would love to see their gift shop. They probably don’t sell Davy Crockett hats there, since in the Middle Ages the town was occupied by sultans who controlled the trade on the African coast. Maybe they have glass jars full of imitation opium for sale.

You also coughed up $600,000 to preserve the Temple of the Winged Lions in Petra, not to mention $100,000 to restore a 19th century railroad station in Paraguay. Then there was the $450,000 you sent to Cambodia to preserve the Temple of Phnom Bakheng.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve walked through Angkor Wat, and ancient Cambodian temples are cool places, but chances are most of you won’t visit the Temple of Phnom Bakheng. I spent two weeks on a church mission in Cambodia and nobody even mentioned the Temple of Phnom Bakheng.

The U.S. also seems concerned about log cabins in Russia, since $100,000 in taxpayer money went there to preserve a 19th Century Log House Museum. Even though it is in northern part of the country, I am sure that scores of Russian dads pile their families into Country Squire station wagons for educational family treks every summer.

We Feed Dead People

No matter where you come down on entitlements, I think we can all get on board with the idea that there is one demographic out there that can do without them: the dearly departed. Even the reddest, most bleeding heart liberals out there must concede that those who have gone on to their Eternal Reward don’t need food stamps. It’s one of the advantages of being dead- you don’t need to eat.

Well, apparently the Occupy the Graveyard Movement had some traction this year- New York and Massachusetts provided SNAP benefits to 2000 dead people.  On top of that, the Social Security Administration doled out $405,357 to 30 dead people. Silly me, I thought SSI benefits were to help retired people and those who cannot work. The main task of a dead person is to decay. That’s pretty much all there is on their day planner. Apparently the cost of decomposition is going up.

Back to the Land of the Living, it gets better for you folks who reside in Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon. Your states gave extra food stamp benefits to marijuana users. Munchies, you know. Apparently they were allowed to deduct the cost of weed from their income statement when applying. And no, I don’t know why they didn’t spend the money on food instead of grass.

Direct Deposit

In 2011 the federal government handed out $5,262 in welfare payments to an individual in Hanoi, who withdrew the money from an ATM. In the general scheme of things five grand isn’t a lot of money, but it is a drop in the proverbial foreign bucket. Two people in Mexico used ATMs to take out a total of $13,566 in welfare benefits. A government audit revealed that as of February of last year, our government was depositing SSI welfare money into the bank accounts of 1.1 million “foreign born” citizens.

Coming next: Your tax Dollars With Jerks III: The Outrageous