It’s no secret that not everyone agrees with the way the government spends money. Even if you’re a member of the same political party as the current president, there’s a good chance that you don’t think all the government’s decisions for allocating funds are right. The day that most people in the country agree about how money should be spent at the government level in the U.S. will probably never come. However, there are a few things that most people can agree are pretty crazy when it comes to the things the government is willing to pay for.
Of course, there have been some government shutdowns, which occur when the members of the government can’t come to an agreement on how money should be spent. Politicians are also known for spending a tremendous amount of the public’s tax dollars. One of the things that keeps most government officials in office is whether or not citizens are satisfied with the way he/she handles money. Sure, government officials who don’t use their power correctly when it comes to money should obviously be omitted from the next election ballot. However, aren’t there some strange things that would be paid for with our tax money no matter who is in office? Here are 12 of the craziest things the government spends money on.
12. Promoting Christmas Trees In Michigan
The government has spent $75,000 to promote awareness for the state of Michigan. A number of poinsettias and Christmas trees come from the state each year, and apparently, the government wants more people to be aware of this. Most people who are aware of the fact that the government spends this amount of money to promote Michigan’s Christmas tree industry are baffled as to why the government would do this. After all, Michigan is the third-largest producer of Christmas trees, which is a pretty good sign that the industry is doing well. Seems like huge waste of money, or a strange way to spend money, at least.
11. Dragon Robots in Michigan
You read that right. About $130,987 was being spent to create dragon robots in Michigan. The dragons were supposed to be used to teach language arts to preschoolers. There’s nothing wrong with finding new and innovative ways to teach children. However, dragon robots probably aren’t the way to go, at least not for preschoolers. Perhaps the funding for the robots would be best used for high school or college students who are interested in robots. Unless of course, the state of Michigan conducted a study that indicated that preschool-aged children would likely learn best with the help of dragon robots.
10. Snow Cone Machines in Michigan
Most people enjoy a good snow cone from time to time. However, the state of Michigan has spent $6,279 for snow cone machines. This seems like a lot of money, but it’s not that much compared to the other things that the government has shelled out cash for. The purpose of the snow cone machines was two-fold. One of the reasons the state got the machines is to encourage people to volunteer during events sponsored by the Michigan Citizen’s Corp. The machines were also purchased for the purpose of preventing illness and countering heat exhaustion during large events in the state.
9. Fighter Plane Engine at The Pentagon
After the government spent $3 billion of taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars, The Pentagon finally put an end to its efforts to build a second engine for the F-35, a fighter plane. Of the $3 billion, $207 million of those dollars were spent in 2011 alone, which just makes you wonder where else the money could have gone. The second engine was going to be built by Rolls Royce and General Electric. Even though it took a few years, government officials finally decided that running competing engines together in the plane was a bad idea. Unfortunately, it cost the public millions of dollars in the process, which is baffling to say the least.
8. Tree Census in Nevada
Under normal circumstances, a census is taken to determine the demographics of a certain area. The census can also give an indication to the government concerning which types of businesses and educational facilities should be constructed in an area. In 2011, $60,000 of government funds were used for a tree census in Nevada. According to the Henderson City Council, there are 15,000 in the area that “have no other recorded data other than a GPS location.” The census was created to start a tree maintenance plan. It’s hard to imagine how this would make any sense, but apparently, Henderson City government officials thought it was a pretty good plan at the time.
7. Sprint Phone Experiment
Two of the most ridiculous ways that the government has spent money involve social networking. For $764,825, Notre Dame University partnered with Sprint Nextel’s Dan Hesse to present 250 college freshmen with phones. The phone had a tracking device that would monitor the students’ interactions, including how close the students were to each other in physical proximity. There was no reason given as to how this experiment would benefit the public. Neither Sprint nor Notre Dame offered any explanation for why this would be a good thing for the university, or for Sprint. Maybe they just wanted to give some students new phones.
6. Social Networking
It seems that the government is interested to know whether people “like” things on Facebook out of sincerity, or if they simply click the like button just to kill time. The University of California-Riverside was awarded a $198,000 grant in 2011 to research whether social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook actually make people happy. The studies conducted from other research institutes previously released results which indicated that people use social media to keep up with their friends and family, and that some individuals use social media simply to pass time. This is a huge indication that the University of California wasn’t going to find anything largely different in terms of research results. Sounds like another waste of money.
5. A Report About “Feeling Good”
There are times when the government feels it’s necessary to pay for studies that determine how happy people are, and what makes them happy. The National Institute on Aging gave the RAND Institute $610,908 to conduct a happiness survey. The survey included people in 120 countries to determine what constitutes well-being and satisfaction with life throughout the world. While this sounds like a nice enough idea, there’s already a Gallup pole that pretty much provides these results for people, worldwide. Perhaps the government should have checked on that first. Or, maybe government officials thought they’d come up with different results if they conducted the study themselves.
4. Energy Tax Credits
In 2011, the government spent $1 billion in tax credits that went toward energy-efficient home improvements. The problem with this, however, is that the tax credits went to people who were not homeowners. According to a report by Senator Tom Coburn, the people who received these tax credits included inmates and children. Of course, this gives U.S. citizens the notion that other tax credits are being extremely misused. It’s also highly unlikely that the people issuing these credits will be caught, since there isn’t much documentation that has to be submitted with a number of returns in order to claim the credits.
3. U.S. Senate Hair Care
In 2013, it was reported that $5.25 million had been spent over the past five years in order for senators to keep their hair looking its best. Sure, politicians have to look their best. After all, they are photographed often and are known for giving speeches and making public appearances. However, spending over $5 million to keep their hair intact is pretty excessive. We realize that getting quality hair treatments can be expensive at times, but it’s safe to say that this money could be better spent doing nobler things like feeding the homeless, or getting the country out of debt.
2. The Department of Agriculture Internship
The Department of Agriculture spent about $2 million to fund an internship program. However, only one of the interns was hired full-time as a result of the program. There’s no way to make this make sense, since it’s pretty safe to assume that the money from the internship funding weren’t given to the full-time employee. Also, where exactly were the internship funds being spent? Was the money used to give employees a little extra on their paychecks for training the interns? Was the money simply used to beautify the building? Either way, it seems that the internship wasn’t all that successful, since most of the interns decided to pursue other interests.
1. Keeping Pets Beautiful
We realize that most people like to keep their pets looking their best. The government seems to agree with this, since it has spent $505,000 on specialty hair care products for cats and dogs. Maybe these are the dogs and cats that are entered into shows and competitions. Or perhaps, the government has heard the cries of pet lovers all across the country who want to give their furry family members an impressive, shiny coat. Either way, this is way more money than most humans spend on their hair in the span of a decade or so, unless of course you’re a celebrity and you have to be on the red carpet often.