In honor of Tax Day 2012 this is a little tale about how $1.25 million of your tax dollars was spent or as President Obama likes to now say, “invested” in your nation’s future.
Last weekend on a nature trek in the Florida Everglades this sign caught my eye.
Obama’s infamous “economic stimulus” aka The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (remember that?) aka “The Porkulus Bill” spread its wealth to the Florida Everglades.
Now in 2012, the stimulus funds are dried up and all that remains is this large sign, a monument to glorious out of control spending of old.
Being an inquisitive soul, I did a little research about the “economic stimulus” program behind the sign.
Here is what I discovered.
The sign itself directs one to www.recovery.gov.
There I plugged in the zip code where our “recovery dollars (were) at work”.
Upon further investigation, I found this press release from March 29, 2010:
Everglades’ Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Receives Stimulus Funding to Remove Invasive Species, Restore Natural Habitats.
It turns out a firm called Aquatic Vegetation Control of West Palm Beach, FL received a contract for $1.25 million to complete this task.
The press release goes on to say:
“These non-native plants pose a serious threat to the delicate ecological balance of the Everglades and their removal will greater enhance this precious national treasure,” Secretary Salazar said. “In addition, the ARRA funding will provide employment for several dozen skilled workers who will be executing this project throughout much of 2010.”
Then the press release sums up:
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century.”
So basically what this press release said was — our nation can thrive in the 21st century if long-neglected challenges like Everglades’ weeds do not thrive.
Here are some questions that come to mind.
How exactly did “removing invasive species and restoring natural habitats” stimulate the economy beyond the “several dozen skilled” folks who got paid directly in 2010?
Now more than two years later, have the invasive species grown back?
(Melaleuca species was the primary target and according to the press release is a “persistent weed”.)
How many hours of work and how many US taxpayers were needed to accumulate the $1.25 million that was spent so “several dozen skilled workers” could be stimulated removing persistent weeds from the Everglades? (A task Mother Nature was most likely capable of handling.)
How much did the sign itself cost?
It looked like a large hardy sign, one that could withstand the harsh environment of the Everglades.
How long will the sign remain standing, obstructing the natural landscape, even through the “recovery” program has been over for two years?
If I did not have a life, I might have gone back and asked visitors how they felt that their economic stimulus tax dollars were used to remove Everglades’ weeds. Did they feel happy, sad, ticked off or ripped off upon seeing the sign?
(Of course half of all American taxpayers do not pay federal income taxes anyway, so that question had a 50% chance of not being answered.)
Fortunately, our family is blessed to be among the 50% who do pay federal income taxes, and today, as I was about to send in our little gift to the IRS I felt I had three options.
Burn the check and send the IRS the ashes.
Send the check, save the match and have the IRS burn the money themselves on things like a lavish $825,000 GSA convention. Although this convention was headline making, it is really only chump change compared to reports of $60 billion wasted in fraud and poor planning in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Today is a good day to have some fun finding your favorite way the IRS will burn your tax contribution.
Make sure President Obama is defeated so the American taxpayer will never again have to pay $787 billion for economic stimulus which largely stimulated wasteful projects and government at all levels but (per the sign) left the Everglades’ most important residents, the alligators totally unstimulated.