Sunday, May 10, 2009

Your tax dollars at work

When it comes to the financial situation of our country, we have heard it all in the last few months.

A multi-billion dollar stimulus package was passed by the federal government to ease the pressure people are feeling because of the recession.

Of course, this spending has caused our national debt to deepen, and many people have legitimate concerns regarding how this will be dealt with in the long run.

Last month, there were protests held across the nation that expressed frustration about our federal government's approach to spending.

Because of the recession, most Americans have had to make sacrifices to deal with the situation. Families have cut their budgets. Businesses have cut back on spending in ways that have resulted in jobs being lost.

It appears just about everybody is making sacrifices in some way. With this spirit of sacrifice in the air, it would be reasonable to assume that our federal government is going the extra mile to cut back on unnecessary spending.

Unfortunately, this is not true, and there was a high-profile example of this recently.

Last month, many New York City residents felt like they were re-living an awful dream. A modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet that was being escorted by two F-16 fighter jets flew around the Manhattan area where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place.

This incident occurred for nearly 30 minutes, and naturally, many people were frightened by it. The city's emergency services were peppered with calls from people, and the incident clearly traumatized some.

However, the source of the incident was quickly identified. The jumbo jet was actually a backup jet for Air Force One, and the White House Military Office commissioned a photo shoot of the plane near national monuments like the Statue of Liberty.

The decision to hold this photo shoot was condemned by just about everybody in the political arena, and to President Barack Obama's credit, he said it was a stupid thing to do and promised a review of the decision making process that went into this.

While most reporting on this incident ended after the president's apology, some follow-up investigating revealed what should have been the real outrage about this.

This photo publicity stunt cost taxpayers $328,835. We are living in an age of economic hardship that has impacted tens of millions of Americans, and the government makes a decision to spend well-above a quarter of a million dollars just to get some new cool photos of Air Force One.

Maybe nothing should surprise me anymore, but examples like this deeply frustrate me. And it should have the same impact on everybody reading this, too.

I already know the counter arguments to my frustration. Some would say: I know $328,835 seems like a lot of money, but it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of dollars that flow through our government.

After all, $328,835 is far less than one percent of our national budget.

However, the people who would make this argument are either Obama apologists or people who have totally lost touch with the reality in which most Americans live.

If people can make this argument with a straight face, then it is time for me to dig a hole in my backyard and live the rest of my life underground.

President Obama was elected primarily because he promised changed. He said the word "change" at least 10 million times during his campaign.

Unfortunately, this incident shows not everything has changed.

More disturbingly, how many incidents like this are going on without the public knowing about it?


Joltin' Django said...

Re: Your tax dollars at work

Millions of Americans on Social Security are receiving $250 checks as part of the president's stimulus plan — including an Anne Arundel woman who died more than 40 years ago.

The woman's son, 83-year-old James Hagner, said he got the surprise when he checked his mailbox late last week.

Larry J. said...

Government is a bloated mess. There are probably things like this happening all the time but we don't know it.