In a double truck, a newspaper term for a two-page advertisement that may also include the “gutter,” which is the space in the middle separating the pages, Tuesday’s Wall Street Street had such an ad paid for by “Open the Books.”
Listing 100 uses — or misuses — of “federal taxpayer abuse,” it detailed government studies such as “Buying booze 2018 use-it-or-lose it spending spree – $308,994,” spent in the final month of FY2018 by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Another dubious government abuse listed was “How to use a lawyer guide – $728,000” spent in FY2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At its website, OpenTheBooks.com. said it works “hard to capture and post all disclosed spending at every level of government — federal, state and local. We’ve successfully captured nearly 5 billion public expenditures, and we are rapidly growing our data in all 50 states down to the municipal level. We won’t stop until we capture every dime taxed and spent by our government,” it said.
Listed as officers are Dr. Tom Coburn, former U.S. Oklahoma senator and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as honorary chairman; Thomas W. Smith, chairman, and Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder.
Open the Books says it accepts no government funding, that it’s a project of American Transparency — a 501(c)3 nonprofit, charitable organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
The first page of the two-page ad is addressed to President Trump. Congratulating him, it says “Unfilled jobs are at a record high. Unemployment for Black Americans, Hispanics, Asians and those with only a high school diploma is at or near record lows. For women, near a 66-year low. For youths, a 50-year low.”
The third paragraph talks about the federal debt, that it’s close to $23 trillion and increasing about $4 billion a day.
Then, talking about “exciting changes — the internet, the cloud world, big data, 5G, the Information Age — it says every government expenditure — local, state and federal — can be posted online so “Taxpayers should know how their every dollar is spent.” It proposes a four-step nonpartisan transparency revolution:
First, publicize every White House expenditure. Direct every department, every agency in your administration to do the same and report progress monthly.
Second, begin a war on [financial] waste.
Third, mobilize every government employee because they “Know where the waste and incompetence are.” Reward them “with a percentage of realized savings.”
And fourth, report the progress or lack thereof publicly every month for six months and thereafter quarterly for the remainder of your administration.
Other stupid government expenditures — and again “100 examples of federal taxpayers abuse” are listed were:
“Expensive coffee cups – $1,200 each, $350,000,” FY2018 by the Department of Defense
“Average federal employee receives 43 days paid time off – $22.6 billion,” FY2019, Office of Personnel Management
“Preparing religions for discovery of extraterrestrial life – $1.1 million,” FY2017, National Space and Aeronautics Administration
“Talking to saguaro cactus – $10,000,” FY2016, National Foundation on the Art and Humanities
“Using soap operas to reduce HIV in urban black women – $567,529,” FY2016, Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass.
“Funding hipster parties – $5 million,” FY 2015 National Institutes of Health
“Costs 7 cents to make a nickel – $150 million literally losing money while making the money,” FY2019 U.S. Mint
“Frog mating calls in Panama – $466,991,” FY2019, National Science Foundation
“Where it hurts the most to be stung by a bee – $1 million,” FY2015 National Science Foundation
“Mobile APP for sex diary – $1 million,” FY2016, Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif.
“Cigar taste test – $114,375,” FY2016, Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va.
“Lighting for liquor stores $50,000,” FY2017, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It’s your money,” says “OpentheBooks” website, “and you deserve to see where every dime is spent! We believe taxpayers have a constitutional right to government oversight. We believe hard data is a game changer. Once citizens are able to see how the government spends their money, it will influence how they vote and how they view their government.”
Which is true but only if taxpayers care enough to do something. If not, the abuse, the waste of taxpayer money, will continue. As if there is no tomorrow.