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  • UPDATED - Worst of the Waste: The 100 Outrageous Government Spending Projects of 2010

    Update – 10:30 a.m. Dec. 21 – MSNBC host Rachel Maddow yesterday defended Deadhead-related spending. “Sen. Coburn has picked a classic culture war target,” she wrote on her blog. “The Grateful Dead and their buckets of hallucinogens, etc., can be counted on to divide opinion, should anyone actually notice Mr. Coburn’s Wastebook.”

    ***

    The Grateful Dead have been named among the top “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine. Now, they rank among the 100 worst examples of wasteful government spending in 2010.

    A report prepared by Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) office reveals taxpayers shelled out $615,000 so the University of California at Santa Cruz could digitize Grateful Dead photographs, tickets, backstage passes, fliers, shirts and other memorabilia.

    “This is one of the first efforts to preserve and share cultural and historical artifacts of the baby boom generation, a group that includes 76 million Americans,” representatives of the Institute of Museum and Library Services explained.

    So let the Baby Boomers pay for it out of their own pockets.

    When taxpayers aren’t shelling out money for music memorabilia, they’re busy paying for the other projects listed in Coburn’s report. Here are a few named in the report:

    • They supply $175 million a year so the Department of Veterans Affairs can maintain buildings it doesn’t use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio.
    • They pinch pennies so a federal grant program can distribute $1 million to zoos to post bits of poetry to plaques on zoo premises.
    • They cushion the federal coffers so the Monkton, VT, Conservation Commission can build a “critter crossing” for $150,000.
    • They file honest tax returns so the Internal Revenue Service can deliver $112 million in undeserved tax refunds to prisoners who filed fraudulent returns.
    • They fork over their hard-earned dollars so Denali National Park in Alaska can afford nearly $1.5 million worth of new toilets.

    As Coburn puts it, examples like these are too numerous to count.

    “Worse yet,” he writes, “they are costing us billions even as we borrow huge sums just to keep the government operating at a basic level.”

    The Wastebook reveals the madness — but it can’t stop it. Fortunately, Coburn says, the examples it cites could easily be eliminated.

    “Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum will argue about the best way to get us back on track,” he said. “But we can all agree that cutting wasteful and low-priority spending from the budget is not only sensible, but essential.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    50 Responses to UPDATED - Worst of the Waste: The 100 Outrageous Government Spending Projects of 2010

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      “The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Federal Government's auditor, argues that the U.S. is on a fiscally "unsustainable" path and that politicians and the electorate have been unwilling to change this path. The 2010 U.S. budget indicates annual debt increases of nearly $1 trillion annually through 2019. By 2019 the total U.S. national debt is projected to be $18.4 trillion. Further, the subprime mortgage crisis has significantly increased the financial burden on the U.S. government, with over $10 trillion in commitments or guarantees and $2.6 trillion in investments or expenditures as of May 2009, only some of which are included in the budget document.” – Wikipedia

      This is from the GAO – employed by political federal workforce. It is likely to be far worse than they are admitting.

      These GAO federal employees seem to only blame congress AND the electorate for the current economic woes. The GAO employee do not blame the rest of the federal government – namely the hidden-from-public-view federal employees. They write the regulations, the initial budgets, they do the hiring, when they have not fully spent their budgets, they do the end of year spend downs. The federal employees vote for their union representation and the unsustainable lucrative compensation and benefits package they fight for. These are the people who ultimately sign the checks to pay the bills they create. They are the ones who go to the federal reserve and sell out more of America’s future. Federal workers could be instrumental in keeping cost down, but we always seem to find out that the US taxpayers were conned in to buying another $6,000 toilet or a $500 nut. I do not blame any one part of the federal government, I blame it all collectively. Government simply does not work. They all think the same way. They all have the same disregard to the taxpayer and they all have the same insensitivities to the sacrifice Americans are making while they hope their government is doing the right thing. They all have the same ignorant belief that money grows on trees. The entire federal government has problems telling the truth –they obfuscate and they function to put our money in the pockets their friends. If we treated the federal government the way they treated Enron, WorldCom, Madoff and so many others, the federal government would have been shut down nearly 60 years ago.

      2008 government spending was $2.9 Trillion with only $2.66 Trillion pilfered from the American people to pay for it. In 2008 the federal government overspent by $240 Billion just under 10%. By the end of 2008, the federal government racked up a total of $10.8 Trillion in total national debt.

      Move ahead to 2010, spending shot up $650 Billion (close to the total budget of the DoD or HHS!) to $3.55 Trillion while the tax grab went down $280 Billion to $2.38 Trillion. The shakedown of the taxpayers by the federal government included 40 additional fees and other additional taxes to extort even more hard-earned money from the innocent and defenseless citizenry of the country. In 2010, the federal government overspent $1.17 Trillion or 33%. Once all the numbers are in the expected 2010 total deficit will be over $14 Trillion.

      Estimates for 2011 are even more troubling. First of all, these numbers assumed the Bush Tax Cuts were going to expire. That is not going to happen now, so the take from the American taxpayer will actually go down from what was expected. In addition, I am unsure if they recognized that due to the federal government policies, hundreds of thousands more Americans are now out of work this year. In addition, 28 out of 50 states household incomes dropped in 2010. The money grab from the greedy federal government may not be as lucrative as they had hoped.

      The 2011 budget also starts the process of implementing Obamacare. There are additional taxes and fees imposed on the same abused citizenry. The budget is estimated to be $3.81 Trillion (a near $1 trillion increase in just three years!) with the federal shakedown of the taxpayer only estimated to grab out of people’s pockets $2.57 Trillion (very likely to be far less). The feds admit they will overspend by $1.3 Trillion deficit for just 2011! The federal government has no shame. Once they are done with us after September 2011, we will be in the hole by over $15 Trillion. The federal government (every aspect of it) in just three short years have added 50% to our already obnoxious national debt!

      At some point we are going to need to control this. For the near future, the spending within the federal workforce is going to drive us deeper in debt by the tune of more than $1 trillion a year! To keep from going deeper into debt, just keep this simple. We need to return to the 2008 budget and first cut all programs that expired since then from that budget and then make a 10% across the board cut to that budget. This can be done within a week of the new congress. The nation will have a passes budget for the remaining 2011 fiscal year. All expenditures, programs, agencies or whatever, created after 2008 will need to be defunded, cleared out, and eventually eliminated in subsequent legislation. Keep in mind, this plan does not put more money in the hands of the citizenry. The economy will not likely turn around. The federal scouring of our hard earned money will not likely increase their take. That take may actually go down.

      In 2012 and thereafter, congress will need to make further cuts so that we as a nation can start paying down the debt. The sacrifice that is required needs to be the redundant federal government. It is not needed. Its functions are nearly replicated in every state. The federal government is running amok and need to be brought under control. If the federal government return to its defined constitutional duties, we would not need the near 3 million non-military workers and the near $4 trillion to fund it. The primary focus of congress should be to get the country out of debt by 2020. The nation would support that.

      Since 9/11/01, the greater DC area has benefitted from the terror attracts by enjoying an overall household income increase of 32% since then. This greedy group of people have not sacrificed at all nor can they say they are hurting. If they were hit the same way the American People were hit (i.e. 5% loss in household income in the same period), their average income and benefits would have been $79,458 rather than $123,000 they currently enjoy. The greed within the federal government has to stop and we must work hard to stop it.

      • MarkDWard says:

        I'm not sure where you're getting all of your "facts" from…

        The Senate hasn't passed a budget for over 800 days (nearly three YEARS)!

        How can you speak of the 2010 or 2011 budgets, when the Senate hasn't PASSED ONE?

        Also, with the mind-boggling increases that the Pelosi/Reid congress added, with "Baseline Budgeting" subsequent spending is based on THAT inflated figure (as the "new" Baseline). Therefore the 2019 (more or less) debt is projected to be around $27 Trillion (including the "whopping" $2 Trillion in "cuts" over 10 years [that we're PROMISED, but that I suspect will NEVER come to fruition])!

        Other than that, I concur with most of what you say!

      • MarkDWard says:

        Speaking of "sacrifice" – Currently our Vacationer-In-Chief is on yet ANOTHER vacation.

        At least he's within the U.S. this time (albeit on the exclusive Martha's Vineyard)…

        So, to demonstrate the Obama's "Shared Sacrifice" – they (the Obamas) took TWO SEPARATE planes from White House to the airport near Martha's Vineyard. SO, they neither SHARED (a plane) NOR Sacrified (time or vacation luxury).

        What will Obama's 2012 campaign slogan be? "Let them eat cake!"

    2. rutts says:

      Off course, no mention of the 1 trillion dollar price tag for the republican misadventure in Iraq, or the additional billions wasted in afganistan after forces were diverted to Iraq. 2 botched wars, dead, maimed, medical costs running into the billions for decades to come. Include that in your report. What a sham.

      • texasgoat says:

        Look at the army navy air force jobs created and supported by those wars. Say nothing of the jobs supported by war logistics, ie, food fuel munitions. We can use another good war.

      • Bob says:

        Aren't we still there in Iraq and Afganistan? Wasn't there more soldiers there NOW than 4 years ago? Isn't a 3rd war going on in libya? Is the U.S. Warming up on Syria? Hmmmm, I'm concerned that you forgot that…..heck, even Gitmo is still open and being used………..Should be made into a T-Shirt…….

      • Big Ugly says:

        ….. and BOTH of them are now OBAMA'S WARS – along with the unwarranted, unlawful, unauthorized unilateral invasion of Libya.

    3. York Durden says:

      Coburn's listing is hardly the stuff of outrage, not when we've got 800 military bases around the world to defend a crumbling empire, and spending $190 million a day in Afghanistan to protect opium growers and pipeline builders. Leave the Grateful Dead alone, they brought more joy into the world than can be measured in dollars.

      • MarkDWard says:

        Dork Yorden…

        Is it YOUR assertion that digitizing Grateful Dead memorabilia is one of those Enumerated Powers in the Constitution (Something that Congress SHOULD be spending Taxpayer Dollars on)?

        Article 2, Section 2, CLEARLY states that "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States".

        NOW, if some PRIVATE PARTIES want to invest in the Grateful Dead – like Nancy Reagan got PRIVATE donations to purchase new china for the White House – knock yourself out, but DON'T go telling me that it's the ROLE OF Government (a BROKE Government at that) to be concerned with the Grateful Dead!

        THAT has no more business being funded by the Federal Government, than Harry Reid's Cowboy Poetry Museum, or Embrionic Stem Cell Research! As WONDERFUL as those things MAY be, NOWHERE does the Constitution vest the Federal Government with the authority to do those things!

    4. Eric, VA says:

      rutts,

      I'm trying to decide if you're an idiot, or just an intolerant bigot. The "wars" you mention were sanctioned by Congress, so we all knew what was happening. The waste referred to in the article above was not exactly presented to the public.

    5. Brad, Chicago says:

      My only comment to "rutts" is that whatever the cost of the wars, it's pretty obvious that money is being spent. The point of the senator's book is to bring to light hidden expenditures that we wouldn't, otherwise, know about. Also, in both cases, the problem is the government using our money for things we disapprove of. Can we at least agree on that?

    6. cjb, Atlanta says:

      Okay Rutts . . . good point! Let's add that into the equation and look at EVERYTHING. Does mentioning that point justify the rest of the report or the overabundance of ignorance regarding fiscal responsibility on a National level?

    7. Stewart, New York says:

      This isn't about Baby Boomers, it's about politicians not being held accountable and a public that is not political enough to realize where it's money is going. All you do is weaken your argument by flaming your hatred.

    8. Jill, California says:

      We should retroactively make members of Congress pay for these outrageous expenditures out of their own pockets.

    9. Charlie M, FL says:

      Rutts will not live long enough to know, understand or change what could have happened or have been done differently in Iraq. However, Our national security was paramount in our military having to deal with Afghanistan It still is!

      • sgtrock21 says:

        Afghanistan is the correct war (except for the CIA's opium business), post 911. Iraq. I don't understand why we have spent $billions possibly $trillions for nothing. U.S. Government please explain.

    10. Glenn Tennessee says:

      rutts on December 20th, 2010 at 9:36am said:

      Off course, no mention of the 1 trillion dollar price tag for the republican misadventure in Iraq, or the additional billions wasted in afganistan after forces were diverted to Iraq. 2 botched wars, dead, maimed, medical costs running into the billions for decades to come. Include that in your report. What a sham.

      Oh yes, but the Democrats went right a long with it hook, line and sinker. The Democrats and Republicans are two peas in the same pod it just depends on who is in power at the time as to who gets blamed. There seems to be only one thing that DRIVES both parties and that is M O N E Y. The more they can steal from the taxpayers and spend the better they like it.

    11. Bob in Illinois says:

      While it is sexy to make lists like this and it catches people's attention, most government waste is from the everyday, under-the-radar operation of government. This waste comes from grossly overpaid government employees, lack of propoer management, wasteful practices, crooked vendors, and, of course, plain old corruption. I have worked for and with government all my adult life and I have seen how this everday waste happens. Something that is becoming more prevalent is the use of high-paid consultants to make it look like the payroll is being cut or kept level. Illinois uses retired employees working for politically connected consultants who are often ex-Illinois employees. This cheats the taxpayers in three ways – these retired employeess now cost twice what they did before, they avoid deductions from their lavish retirement benefits that would have occured if they worked directly for the state, and qualified people are drawing unemployment while these creeps double-dip. The only way to truly cut government spending is to overhaul the entire corrupt, wasteful system.

    12. gene Alaska says:

      The idiots in Washington always say they will have to cut social security and medicair to balance the budget. This is an outright lie. If they would eliminate the following we could balance the budget and pay off the debt. Eliminate The Dept of Education, BATF, Dept of Energy, FDA,IRS,Retirement programs for fed workers, pork ammendments, Government overspending for supplies, Does Denali Park really need 1.5 million in new toilets??? The companys running the park are making a fortune off the taxpayer. This has to stop!!!

      • MarkDWard says:

        Agreed!

        With the recent Debt "Ceiling" crisis/debate, it was reported (by the CBO) that EVERY MONTH, the current flow of Tax Revenue to the Federal Government is SUFFICIENT to cover:

        The obligatory payments of the National Debt (aka, there's NO RISK of "Default")
        Medicare
        Medicaid
        Social Security
        Active Duty Military
        Federal Law Enforcement (like Border Enforcement)

        AND STILL have about $10 Million left over!

        The PROBLEM, as we all KNOW – is that Government doesn't see THOSE things as the highest priority items!

        THEY want to spend all the money – FIRST – on those pet projects they think will best get them RE-ELECTED!

    13. jessica, Kansas says:

      I think that grateful dead was just trying to make a difference.

    14. Sodbust, Penokee , K says:

      Everyone goes by the beat of a different drummer.. Everyone has a pet project they feel is real important.

      Problem is we the Nation are in big trouble. All spending beyond defence and such has to be put back into the hands of the people who invest the tax money first and not a huge govt that is out of control and has no idea what is important other than what they are told..

      If a small town in the Midwest feels they need a new airport,, let them build it with there own money.. Its there option.. But to send most of our tax money to Washington first with hopes to get some back for the new airport is not working as down the road town B feels turtle crossings are more important than a airport.

      Fact is 100 years ago 90% of all tax money was collected and spent in a 30 mile area called a township.. Only 10% went on to the federal govt. That money spent in that 30 mile area,, all the leaders were known by first name,, and if it upset too many people they ended up not spending the money for that project but one the people in that 30 mile area wanted.

      It was a simple system and worked much better than what we deal with today. But over the years due to total laziness and fear the ball or taxes kept getting passed up the ladder from township to county,, ,then from county to the state and then the state passed it on to Washington.

      Washington is so far away from the real world they depend on hired guns so to speak with money behind them to help tell Washington what the important projects are at any given moment.

      And we sit here and wonder what went wrong..

      Sodbust

    15. Linda in California says:

      rutts: Defending this country and its interests are part of what the Federal Government should do. Providing toilets to a state park, funding the scanning of art for a museum in California,and building a critter crossing in Vermont are things states or local governments should do; not the Feds. And maintaining properties we don't use or need is just plain wasteful, and you wouldn't do it with your own personal money, so why should you do it with your own personal tax money. It's called "common sense;" it's called "respecting the taxpayers and citizens of this country;" it's about being fiscally responsible, being "transparent" and honest in showing taxpayers what you are doing with their money. The Federal Gov should protect our citizens and our borders; they should look out for the country's best interests; they should only do what the Constitution says they can do, and that is not wasting citizen's money on "pork." The states and local governments have their own powers and rights and responsibilities, and the Feds should not be poking their noses into the states' business or spending the taxpayers' money without being upfront about exactly what they are doing with it.

    16. Adam says:

      8.9 out of the 13.7 Trillion to our National Debt was added during Conservative/Republican Presidents and Conservative/Repubican Congressional Control.

      http://www.treasurydirect.gov.

      -that's over 65%

      -opps!

      • Paul says:

        Adam, Where did you get your numbers?
        WW2 – Democrat.
        Korea – mainly Dem and maybe a smidge of Repub at very end of war.
        Viet Nam – Dem and Repub.
        Current mess – Repub and Dem.

        Historically, the Dems gut the military. The Repubs get stuck with the cost of building up means to wage war on their watch. Even if your numbers are somewhat true, all of your facts don't include held back facts.

    17. Comment Man of York, says:

      The dirty little secret that no one talks about is the duplication of "work effort" that goes on unreported. How many gov't depts. run the same type of program that others do saying, "we need it because it fits what we do best!" This is what needs to be fixed.

      All this goes along w/ what others have said, the whole system is broken & needs to be fixed. In the meantime we go whistling past the grave yard & our tax dollars get wasted as we see our children's & grandchildren's futures are being ruined by what's going on!

      Teaparytiers-move forward w/ speed & gusto. Don't give up!

    18. Bobbie says:

      What does the grateful dead have to do with this spending? I'm sure if they could've afforded it within their responsible means, they would've, but if it was offered (not knowing the trap is being set) who wouldn't see it okay? But it is a waste and government is confusing the word "priority."

    19. Norma in Nebraska says:

      Perhaps government should be run like successful private business operate:

      1) take a look at all the departments of the company and ELIMINATE those that either are useless, cost too much or are duplicates.

      2) Then look at each remaining department and REQUIRE the head of each department to make a minimum of 5% cut in expenses EACH YEAR for the next 10 years, a reduction of 50% of waste in each department. Any new expenditures MUST be paid for and must be in accordance with the Constitution.

      3) Then look at what is left and SELL the areas of the business that are at a point where they are no longer winners. Private business does not waste capital on areas in business which do not support themselves.

      That's what happens in the real world. So perhaps what we really need in Washington is a real CEO: someone who knows how to deal with those who wish to harm us; someone who does NOT take no for an answer when it comes to closing our borders; someone who believes in the Constitution and the Rule of Law and has every intention of enforcing both; someone who BELIEVES in the greatness of America and wants our country to succeed; someone who KNOWS how to create jobs and put the country back to work; someone who KNOWS we have to reduce the deficit and will develop a plan to do just that. We may not like what he has to do, but our children and grandchildren will thank him . . . and we might, too!

      Oh darn, I forgot. Most progressives in this country don't like big business because those damn CEOs make too much money, pay a minimal amount in taxes compared to the money they make, are just plain greedy, and give little back to 90% who are less fortunate . . . .or do they? It would be interesting to evaluate the amount of money donated to charity and then determine how much of it comes from the bottom 90% of the population in America!

      The bottom line in this article to me is that there is PLENTY of waste in government, and if those in charge cared to, a HUGE reduction could take place almost immediately. Our elected officials may agree in principle but don't expect them individually to lift one single finger to remedy the situation because they are in the pocket of their favorite lobbyist!

    20. sean murrey says:

      another waste of money i think they need to have thier heads examined.

    21. sean murrey ILLInioi says:

      this is so silly i cant imgene where they come up with this stuff.

    22. wayne hatch, murphy, says:

      After reading the comments I can only conclude that we have a problem on both sides of the aisle, I think the point missed is that we as a nation had better wake up to what our government is doing to us or we may wind up being the "ungrateful dead".

    23. USA says:

      I served in the submarine force of the USN from 1955-1975 and saw much waste and what we termed " big dealing " by senior enlisted and others for the benefit of interior navy stuff . At the later end of my career I was the senior enlisted responsible for the maintenance of several fleet ballistic missile weapons departments at different times on different submarines . I always had the attitude that the people paid for my services and they were going to get their moneys worth . I had a quarterly budget in the neighborhood of 180,000 dollars and at the end of every quarter my ststem maintenance budget came in under allowance . The money left was returned to squadron for whatever purpose they saw fit . I was encouraged by my senior officers to spend the money rather than turn it back to squadron . I don't really understand the ramifications of that but I feel that if every goverment empolyee served with that conciousness we could cut government expenses in half . We need to pay more attention to how our money is spent in day to day operations .

    24. Larry Nashville says:

      NPR is at the top of the list We hear this every year same story but nobody ever dose any thing to change it. Just more money wasted all we get is talk

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    26. Paul, Los Angeles. says:

      The Greatful Dead were probably the worst band ever, next to The Beatles.

      A shameful waste of money.

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    28. William Person says:

      Alot of good points in the comments!!

      Mine is as follows. Who knows better what their community needs? A beaurocrat in some far off disconnected marbled hall or the local mayor, selectman or council. How many departments in DC are regulating busineses and services they have never worked in or managed? How many departments in DC actually produce a product they are regulating? For me start with energy, then education and go on from there. $24 billion to a department that never enters a classroom, thats just to oeprate the department. Imagine if our states had that money back and we could decide where that money was to go?? Its all about local control!!

    29. Ismail bin Talib Al says:

      What that numbskull Coburn doesn't mention:

      - his vote to liquidated the $1.6 Trillion dollar taX SURPLUS the IRS ran under the Clinton Admin. This had ZERO impact on the economy and was used to mollify the wealthy as we went into Iraq.

      - his vote to extend $4 trillion in unnecessary spending in a fraudulent war, violating the Geneva Convention, committing HUGE war atrocities and war crimes in Iraq and on the home front.

      - The ongoing waste that is GITMO?!

      - No-bid contracts that lined the coffers of Halliburton, Bechtel, ABB and other faux military shadowy CIA-run spook construction firms?

      - The CIA's $50-100B slush fund per year that is NOT examinable by the American people. All you stupid American stooges whine and blubber about 150K for a zoo, but you have ZERO access to that money, how it is spent and why. E.g. surveillance systems on US internet traffic, external rendition prisons, etc.

      - $100B year in Secret NSA spending, employing the worlds PhDs to spy on US citizens, to steal Internet traffic and then cache it all, unify all phone records, voice calls, SMS, email, all the sites you've visited under one ginormous optical, quantum database?

      - $400B in Pentagon/DARPA budgets that are parceled off to US universities in slushy, back room deals to research "security" questions and other such unclear, nebulous BS. This buys the complicity of the US academic community, reshapes research focus, derails ideas which would focus on peace, on energy sustainability and instead redirects that research into the pentagon. Don't believe me? Ask any IVY how much $$ they rely on from Uncle Sam's military budget to stay afloat? Cut that gravy train off, and the IVY league turns to ashes over night.

      - The $ 1 Trillion dollar US tax subsidy of the Taliban's Opium trade. The TRUTH is we went into Afghanistan for the heroine trade and for the oil pipelines. Anything to do with "terrorism" on US soil is the largest load of horseshit ever perpetrated. The fact remains: PRE 9/11 the Taliban produced $0.00 in opium. After US invasion, it is billions. Why? How did the US military serve to increase opium yield by 100,000%? And isn't that money what they use to 'attack' the US military? Look into it. GOD = Gold Oil Drugs.

      The fact is — the US is bankrupt and has been since Reagan left office. The World Bank is floating the US currency and China, Inc. is buying our debt. however, that will end and we will go the way of Russia. The currency will fail and there will be a massive restructuring. And say good bye to the national parks, to health care, to 401ks, to Social Security. it's all going to China, Inc. to prop up their Middle Class.

      Meanwhile you morons are fighting over zoo poetry?

      Typical Americans. Boxing at shadows and arguing over deck chairs on the Titanic. Meanwhile Rome burns and Obama fiddles.

    30. Regina Tsau says:

      I didn't understand the concluding part of your article, could you please explain it more?

    31. Ismail bin Talib Al says:

      The concluding part means:

      ObamaCare, ObamaWars and TARP are wasting money, lives and precious time. Americans fall victim to Republican and Democrat PR nonsense. A leader should set out the framework. If he cannot do that, then it is up to the electorate to create a rationale debate and reject the nonsense, distraction that passes for politics, news and debate. While the morons on this thread are yammering about the need for "freedom" and the hypothetical threat of the boogeyman "terrorism" — real lives are being lost as well as options for the American Empire. The US politicians are purposefully redirecting attention and wasting time. They are indebting the US people to a life of slavery to China. That makes your FREEDOM and your DOLLAR and your CONSTITUTION irrelevant. As Rothschild says, "it matters not who controls the laws if I control the monetary supply." (I'm paraphrasing here.)

      The US Constitution, its Democracy/Republican form of govt, its autonomy, laws and way of life are being UNDERMINED by $20 Trillion in needless debt. Isn't THAT the greater security risk? Think about it: terrorism is a hypothetical attack on sovereignty. US Senate is making a CLEAR and PRESENT assault on your sovereignty by indebting you to China, Inc. Want to know what comes after this? COLLAPSE of the US Dollar. A restructuring of the monetary supply and an austerity program to rebalance the ledger in favor of the debtor. In other words, consider the REPOSSESSION of US homes the rehearsal for the even larger repossession that is to come… when the US defaults on its loans. And how was it that indebted the USA? OBL may've struck the US. But was the US Senate that delivered the death blow by accepting to liquidate the US treasury.

      Consider this:

      Since 1973, Americans have supplemented their lowering standard of living with consumer credit.

      Under Nixon, the US dropped the gold standard to its money. This allowed for the Federal Reserve (an oligarchy of sovereign wealth, global banks and corporations) to set the value of the American greenback unfettered by anything other than opinion.

      Under Nixon, the US struck the deal to operationalize China, — essentially a capitulation that proxy wars with China were futile. This sold out the US middle class — but they hardly could see it coming. It would take 20 years to feel the Walmart Effect…

      Health care costs and HMOs kicked off under Reagan (along with runaway military spending) and we saw the era of double digit inflation of medical costs to such a point that 40% of US bankruptcy's are related to medical costs. Meanwhile, Healthcare/Pharma/insurance/Industrial Medical supplies have seen Year over Year profits in the double digits. So great is there growth that it threatens to be the only industry in the US. The problem is that there are not enough solvent employers capable of underwriting the fees. Walmart, et alia are NOT insuring their employees. And the middle class wealth generators of Small and Medium business are not hiring. With a growing underclass and mounting unemployment or underemployment, people are being water boarded by healthcare costs.

      Consider the recent TARP and mortgage backed securities debacle. The only reason this was even remotely possible was the Clinton Admin led repeal of Glass Stegall Act of the 1930s. This set the stage for the devastation that was foreseen during the Depression and was the reason such an Act existed in the first place. With the Central Bank and the Fed working with the Bush Admin to offset a Stock Bubble for a wholly Central Bank generated Real Estate Bubble. A RE Bubble that sucked the US banks down a rathole and millions of Americans with them. But here's the real pernicious thing – TARP bailed the US banks out by having the US bail out not only the banks but the car companies as well. And who footed the bill — that's right the US Taxpayer. Let's get this straight — the Banks in cohoots w/ the Fed collapsed the US economy, created the bubble in the first place, dispossessed 100,000s of US citizens, threw the middle class in the greatest recession since the "great depression" and who got the bail out? The ones that caused it. And yet — and YET — the US Senate is arguing over 9/11 First Responders health insurance? And extending Veteran and Unemployment Benefits?!!!??? These are benefits to the ones who were victimized by the US Senate's decisions. And these are benefits that the US TAXPAYER is actually paying for. For God Sake the IRS taxes your unemployment check. Did TARP get taxed?! Did the bankers get taxed on their $50,000,000M bonuses that the taxpayer payed for? Probably not.

      This is what I meant by — as Rome Burns, Obama Fiddles. It is s reference to Emperor Nero and the destruction of Rome by fire under an insane leadership.

    32. Jimmy Surprise Arizo says:

      Outstanding!

      Glad to see that some of our tax dollars are used for good causes. The Dead were a cultural influence on America for more than 30 years.

      The UC Santa Cruz is a great place for the Grateful Dead collection.

      The money spent to house the collection is a small fraction of the cost of a presidential library or the money wasted in the military in just one day.

    33. Why is this guy complaining about new toilets in a large park? Does he think people should just hold in it?

    34. Bob Butters says:

      I think it's time to Digitize Jimi Hendrix. He's the best there ever was!

    35. Bob says:

      Their is only one thing that makes this country run , Its called GREASE and it is GREEN

    36. OndFlyfish says:

      The distinction here…with this example and the myriad of others, is that while you may have not agreed with the Iraq war or involvement in Afghanistan, these were actions debated sanctioned by the leadership of our government. (Both sides) If you don't like it, you can vote them out, protest etc. and make your point known.

      For tens of thousands of absolute BS crap that is not made public, that are earmarks or other creative ways of sending funds to favorite constituents, there is no vehicle to protest, complain or debate on the validity.

      Therefore if they are doing it with "Taxpayer funds" it is without representation. So, the "Deadhead" foundation or some other group with nostalgia for that pathetic point in time…they could have easily paid for it themselves, opened a museum or some other venue….all without involving the rest of us who think it has zero historical value.

    37. Lloyd says:

      Just goes to show where our Congress's interests are. I mean, golly, the Grateful Dead did so much for our country, didn't they? If we had enough groups like that we could ruin the whole country in just a few days. If that is a good idea, spending that amount of money on such a project, then perhaps we should do it with all the old time groups. Someone would get rich, but it sure wouldn't be the American taxpayer. I'm getting worried, very worried, that our Congress and White House may implode any day now. Where would we be then" Better off, maybe.

    38. David Neal says:

      People need to wake up and realize what the government is doing with OUR money.

    39. Mica Bets says:

      Why the jab at the baby boomers does she think her generation is better or what. This whole article is stupid and she should be a bit more non bias about what she writes in her article's be a reporter and not a commentator editor.

    40. Silver Haired Saint says:

      Absolutely insane. Why didn't the Dead pick up the tab. With all the money they've made and continue to make $615,000 wouldn't be noticed. Why should my tax dollars be wasted on something so meaningless.

    41. Jennie says:

      And they've got to keep the potheads happy cause there's a whole bunch of them in Washington.

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