Saturday, April 15, 2006

The most wonderful time of the year

I am not going to drop my tax check in the mail until Monday. This is the second year of my having a grownup's job and therefore paying a grownup's taxes. The learning curve has been steep. What's even better is thinking about what my taxes are funding, and what they are not.

First, we have the "have mores."
  • It is estimated that for every US taxpayer, $20,000 is being spent on the Iraq war.
  • $61 million of what has been spent on the war has been found to be overcharges by the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root.
  • It is estimated that over $1 billion of government funds have been wasted in the hurricane Katrina recovery effort, while many still are without jobs or homes.
  • About $1 billion of federal funds have been poured into abstinence-only sex "education" since 1996.
Even with all this reckless spending, Congress is looking at making Bush's tax cut that primarily benefits the very wealthy permanent. So what government programs have seen their funding dry up and sometimes blow away?
  • New work requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will disappear $23 million from funds that feed and house poor families.
  • The continuing "global gag rule" will deny funding to global NGOs that would provide critical reproductive healthcare to women in third-world countries.
  • The 2006 federal budget shifts $60 billion over the next 10 years in Medicaid costs to the already squeezed states, ends Community Service Block Grants, and cuts $1 billion in food stamp funding over the next ten years. You can check out more "highlights" of the budget here.
I wouldn't mind paying taxes so much if they actually were put to good use. This is unconscionable, and it has to be stopped. The only thing that gives me the strength to write this check is that it's an election year. It's time for the government to get with the program, and spend money on things that actually work.
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