Budget Busters

It’s certainly bad enough when the government insists on raising taxes (as is presently the case), but it adds insult to injury when the blokes just can’t seem to spend the dough in a responsible manner.

            Take the Department of Defense – a recent study published by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction might make you want to throw up.  Seems the DoD is unable to account (that’s right – “unable to account”) for something like $9 billion which was supposed to fund “Iraq reconstruction.”

            “This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving ‘Development Fund for Iraq’ funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds,” says the report.


            The Special Inspector General goes no to enlighten us with the notion that “The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss.”


            And if all that’s not bad enough, take a look at the recent report issued by Senators Coburn and McCain entitled, “Summertime Blues,” and get ready to go have a drink thereafter.

            This report chronicles some of the stupid, wasteful uses to which the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“stimulus”) committed we and thee.  Some of our favorites:

  1. Despite having no plans to reopen a shuttered visitor center at Mount St. Helen’s in Washington state, the U.S. Forest Service is spending more than $554,000 to replace its windows.
  2. The California Academy of Sciences is receiving nearly $2 million to send researchers to the Southwest Indian Ocean Islands and east Africa to capture, photograph and analyze thousands of exotic ants.
  3. People around Boynton, Oklahoma were left scratching their heads after the town was awarded nearly $90,000 to replace a quarter-mile stretch of sidewalk that was replaced only five years ago!
  4. A Georgia Tech assistant professor of music will receive $762,372 to study improvised music.
  5. Researchers at Georgia State University are using almost $700,000 in stimulus funds to study why monkeys respond negatively to inequity and fairness.
  6. The Southwest Research Institute in Texas got nearly $300,000 in stimulus funds to satisfy the American taxpayer’s profound need for interplanetary weather information.
  7. The Department of Health and Human Services has sent $71,623 to the Winston-Salem college to study how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine.
  8. Winter Haven Area Transit buses carry two to three riders per hour, according to the City Commission’s liaison to the Transit authority.  Therefore, the town needs five new buses, don’t you see, clipping we and thee for $2.38 million stimulus dollars.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

            Jeff Quinn, the author if this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He is also a contributor to the recently published 13th edition of Tax Savvy for Small Business, published by Nolo.  He can be reached at 831-7288, and welcomes comments below.

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