The Puppet Masters

Sequestration has put a moratorium on White House tours, but have no fear for government is spending quite lavishly on puppets. Yes, while Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s six-figure salaried staffers starve due to the cuts from sequestration, the government has spent almost $1.18 million on puppets.  Wynton Hall at Breitbart posted yesterday that:


Canceling tours of “the people’s house” saves taxpayers an estimated $18,000 a week, or $936,000 a year.


From 2009 to 2013, the U.S. government has spent $1,188,382 on puppetry-related expenses. Some of the expenses include puppet shows for kids on educational topics. Others include puppet-based research. In 2010, the taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation awarded the University of Central Florida a $199,754 research grant for “Efficient Control and Transmission of Digital Puppetry.”

The UCF website explains the project thusly:

The purpose of this project is to improve the quality of experiences that can be provided by the puppeteering paradigm (more varied behaviors, enhanced quality of service, reduced latency), while simultaneously reducing the barrier to entry (cost and complexity of set-up, cognitive load on puppeteer, need for extensive training).

In February 2013, the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts invested $25,000 into something called “In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask,” a Minneapolis project that will “support the development of a new work by puppetry artists in the Sampo Box Program.”

In 2009, tax dollars also funded research involving “puppet choreography and automated marionettes” at Northwestern University to the tune of $358,410, or roughly 19 weeks worth of White House visitor tours.


So, we can’t give children and constituents of members of Congress tours of the White House, but we can spend egregious amounts of money towards puppets and duck genitalia.  It’s developments like this, which should have everyone asking why they pay taxes in the first place.



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