As U.S. taxpayers dish out millions for President Obama’s lavish Hawaiian vacation crushing year-end statistics reveal unprecedented government debt and a myriad of waste that should outrage all Americans.
Let’s start with the disastrous 111th Congress because it shattered a record by accumulating more new debt ($3.22 trillion) than the first 100 congresses combined, according to U.S. Treasury figures released last week. That brings the total national debt to a whopping $13.9 trillion or about $45,000 for every person living in the U.S.
A few days before those figures were released a U.S. Senator published an astounding report on some of the government’s most wasteful spending projects in 2010. Appropriately titled “Wastebook 2010,” the 85-page document chastises Congress for finding new and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars while millions of Americans struggle to find work.
It lists too many examples to mention here, but highlights include $5.2 million for a neon sign museum in Las Vegas, $700,000 to study the effect of cow burps on organic dairies, more than $600,000 for a Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf “avatar” video game, $442,000 to study male prostitutes in Vietnam and $200,000 to research why political candidates make vague statements.
Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs spends $175 million annually to maintain hundreds of buildings it doesn’t use, including a pink octagonal monkey house in Ohio, and the Internal Revenue Service gave prison inmates who filed fraudulent returns $112 million in refunds. Medicare also paid out more than $35 million to a network of more than 100 fraudulent clinics operated by a criminal gang.
As if taxpayers haven’t been exploited enough, the commander-in-chief racks up a hefty tab at a luxury beachfront retreat in Kailua Bay. A local newspaper published some of the daunting numbers, which include $63,000 for the First Lady to take an early flight to the island, $1 million for the president’s round-trip flight and hundreds of thousands for beachfront homes for secret service and military personnel as well as a White House entourage. That doesn’t even include a quarter of a million dollars for local police overtime and $10,000 for an ambulance.
Given the current economic crisis President Obama understands that a Hawaii vacation is out of reach for many Americans, according to a heartwarming narrative on the White House web site that claims “a spirit of openness and transparency” inspired the commander-in-chief to share the vacation with the American people.