It's "Your Money"

The numbers for how the average Americans' tax dollars were spent in 2004 have been released. Since it's often referred to as "your money" by the Administration, perhaps a review of how "your money" is being spent is in order.

The average household paid $6,296 in taxes. The funds (rounded off) were distributed as follows:

Military and Defense- $1,887
Health- $1,276
Interest on Military Debt- $555
Interest on non-Military Debt- $616
Income Security- $414
Education- $231
Veteran's Benefits- $216
Nutrition- $169
Housing- $135
Natural Resources- $109
Job Training- $ 25
Other- $662

That means that the average household paid $6,296 in taxes of which $2,342 was directly related to military expenditures leaving only $3,954 for everything else. If the health costs are taken out (which exist despite, or because of, 40 million + individuals uninsured or underinsured), that means that the entire rest of the government was funded by the average person by an amount of approximately $2,678.

That means job training, education, housing, nutrition programs, veteran's benefits, income security, maintaining our natural resources, etc. combined barely equals our expenditures on the military (particularly under this "finding monsters abroad" loving Administration).

Then again, safety first. That's what George Bush ran on. That's why we had commercials with wolves in forests. That's why Dick Cheney and other Administration spokespeople floated the cloud of imminent attack were anybody but George Bush elected.

So, how safe are we with all this money being spent on defense and with this Administration in charge?

Aside from what a couple of lost pilots forcing the evacuation of Congress, The White House, and the Supreme Court proved, the General Accounting Office (GAO), a non-partisan government investigative arm of Congress found:

"...inefficiencies and inadequate transparency and accountability across DOD's major business areas, resulting in billions of dollars of wasted resources. Senior leaders have shown commitment to business transformation through individual initiatives in acquisition reform, business modernization, and financial management, among others, but little tangible evidence of actual improvement has been seen in DOD's business operations to date" full Abstract/Summary or PDF file (2005-High Risk Series).

Or, if not too distracted by the fancy threats beamed at the television audience nationwide, one might look at how the Administration has ignored threats that, if carried out, would make 9-11 look like amateur hour in terms of cost to human life. It should be noted that the following GAO report comes on the heels of dozens, if not hundreds of other reports given to the Administration calling for action to secure the sites in question.

The GAO report found:

"...experts agree that the nation's chemical facilities are attractive targets for terrorists. The theft or release of certain chemicals could disrupt the local economy, impact other critical infrastructures that rely on chemicals, or impact the health and safety of millions of Americans" full Abstract/Summary or PDF file (Homeland Security April 27, 2005).

If Chemical plants aren't that much of a bother, consider what the GAO found the Administration WASN'T doing when it came to our Nuclear plants:

"...first, with respect to its security mission, GAO found that NRC needs to improve security measures for sealed sources of radioactive materials---radioactive material encapsulated in stainless steel or other metal used in medicine, industry, and research--which could be used to make a "dirty bomb'" full Abstract/Summary or PDF file (Nuclear Regulatory Commission May, 26, 2005).

In sum, the Administration sent a very large chunk of "your money" to the military- which was found to be wasting a lot of it and the Administration has done nothing to ensure improved performance. The Administration has left millions of Americans exposed to the hazards of chemical plants that have security even more lax than was present on the airlines prior to 9-11, and if those two items weren't enough, the Administration has refused to impose standards on facilities that have material that could be used for a "dirty bomb".

It's probably a pretty good bet that a junior high school hall monitor could budget and enforce security better than this.


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