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How to waste your money – let us count the ways

By Henry Lam
web posted June 20, 2011

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The hot topic in DC these days is cutting spending.  Everybody is talking about it, but Rep. Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming is doing something about it.  She has introduced a bill (HR1996) to end wasteful spending that should have been stopped years ago.   The Government Litigation Savings Act will put an end to some of the ridiculous payments made to GAGs (Green Advocacy Groups) for far too many years.  

Here is a summary of legal fees paid to GAGs from your tax dollars: (source)

2003 – 10,595 individual payments totaling $1,081,328,420.00

2004 – 8,161 individual payments totaling $800,450,029.00

2005 – 7,794 individual payments totaling $1,074,131,007.00

2006 – 8,736 individual payments totaling $697,968,132.00

2007 – (first six months only) 6,595 individual payments totaling $1,062,387,142.00

Grand total: 41,881 individual payments totaling $4,716,264,730.00

This outrageous total reflects only the legal fees paid to a handful of GAGs, many of which also receive grants from federal agencies now managed by people who once were executives of GAGs.  What a racket.  This short video (4:36) barely scratches the surface of the massive "legal" thievery perpetrated by GAGs every day.

These payments to attorneys and grants to GAGs should be stopped immediately.

With all the talk about cutting spending, it would seem that every Congressman would jump at the chance to co-sponsor this bill, and proudly brag to his constituents that he is doing something about the out-of-control federal spending.  But alas, there are only 25 co-sponsors as of this date. 

Turn now to federal subsidies, especially green subsidies.  Not only are these subsidies absolutely wasteful, they are an attempt to manage what should be a fee market in energy.  But even worse, these subsidies are a breeding ground for corruption.  Cathy Zoi, Obama's choice as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, is married to Robin Roy, an executive at Serious Materials.  When President Obama and Joe Biden visited the Serious Materials factories, and promoted their products, stock value of the company soared, as did the wealth of Ms Zoi and her husband.  This company received a green subsidy amount to $584,000.

Spain has spent $32 billion in solar subsidies since 2002.   For every new "green" job created, the rest of the economy lost 2.2 jobs.  Spain is now ending this waste, as are Germany and France.  David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation, says: "They're [green subsidies} just so expensive. It also becomes very clear in economic tough times that this fallacy about creating green jobs with huge subsidies is just not true,"   According to the Energy Information Administration, subsidies to wind and solar costs the taxpayer $24 per megawatt hour.  

These green subsidies should be stopped immediately.

Another waste of your tax dollars is the big black hole called the United Nations.  It is common knowledge that the United States pays 22 percent of the U.N. budget. And 25 percent of the Peacekeeping costs.  It is not widely understood that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  The U.N. consists of more than 1300 organizations, agencies, commissions, conventions, and other excuses to drain U.S. tax dollars.  The U.S. pays at least 22 percent of the budget of any of these organizations to which it also belongs.  UNESCO, for example, which President Bush rejoined, and the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and all of the hundreds of other U.N. organizations of which the U.S. is a member. 

It is nearly impossible to discover the total amount of your money that ends up in a U.N. bank account.  Payments to subsidiary organizations are hidden deeply in the budges of obscure federal agencies.  The reported amount assessed and voluntary payments to the U.N. for 2011 amounted to more than $4 billion dollars. 

These payments to the U.N. should be stopped immediately.

The granddaddy of waste is the interest payments on the national debt.  Interest payments are a pain in the pocketbook of every person who has ever had to finance a purchase.  Multiply that pain by the population of the United States, multiplied by the $14 trillion dollar national debt, and the economic suffering accrues at a rate faster than the nation can long endure.

What was the amount paid by the U.S. in 2010 on the principle and interest on the national debt?

We asked Colleen Murray at the U.S. Treasury press center this question – three times by phone and twice by email.  She has answered neither the calls nor the emails after more than two weeks of waiting.  The Treasury Department was asked the same question by a staffer from Rep. Stephen Fincher's office.  Within two hours came the reply:

Total amount paid on principle:  $ 14,025,215,000,000.00 ($14 Trillion)

Total interest paid on debt:  $ 413,954,825,362.17 ($413 Billion)

Hmmmmm.  What's wrong with these numbers?   Total U.S. revenue for 2010 was only $2.162 trillion.  How could we pay $14 trillion on principle, and $413 billion in interest from only $2 trillion in revenue?  Obviously, the Treasury Department's numbers are meaningless, even when reported to a Congressman.    A great project for every person would be to try to find an answer to this question.  The frustration you will experience will elevate your determination to replace the current administration with people determined to end the waste of your tax dollars. ESR

Henry Lamb is the author of "The Rise of Global Governance,"  Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc.


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