11 April, 2006

Grape Ways to Spend Your Money

4-11-06 Tax Day Looms

With less than a week left to file taxes, we thought it would be a good idea to kick off our Tuesday Top Ten segment with a look at some things on which Uncle Sam spends our money. These are not the biggest porkers, just the funniest we could find.

10. $107,000,000 for two projects in San Francisco. 82 million for a BART line extension to SF International Airport and 25 mill for the "3rd Street Light Rail Project". Hey that's a great deal if you live in San Francisco, but kind of a crapper for the 99.67% of us who don't.

9. Little Pinellas Park Florida, a town of 50,000 , rakes in over 6 million dollars for road drainage and sewage treatment. That's like $125 for every man, woman and child in town, to help them flush--our money down the toilet.

Speaking of water, sewers and street...
8. The town of Barron, Wisconsin hauls in two million dollars for water, sewer and street repairs. We paid $100 to every home owner and apartment renter in the whole of Barron County to help them fix their drainage problems. Woosh. There goes your money down someone else's commode.

While we're talking about commodes...
7. Americans spent $1,000,000 on the "Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative" That last word means we're just getting started. Flushing our money away without having to waste water to do it; who says Bush doesn't care about the environment?

6. $13,500,000 given to the International Fund for Ireland. With a population of 4 million, we, basically, bought every resident of Ireland a drink. How's that for foreign policy?

5. Soybeans, potatoes and poultry--Oh My! One million for soybean research, 1.5 million for potato research and a cool 5 mill for a Poultry Science Research Facility in Mississippi. That's 7.5 million dollars for beans, spuds and chickens--insert green giant, Mr. Potato head, or Jim Perdue joke here.

Here come the Grapes
4. This started with some research into Pierce's Disease (PD). When I first read that Americans were spending 2.2 million dollars to help California combat PD, I thought of poor children suffering from a terrible ailment that no one knew or cared about. Helpless orphans, held hostage by a ruthless virus. But, it turns out Pierce's Disease is found in grapes, not children. For 2.2 mill, we should be fairly certain, that PD never makes that molecular jump to humans. Of course, to be safe, we've invested 3.65 million more in California to fund the "Grape Genome Research Center". Then to be fair to that other monster vintner, New York, we gave New Yorkers their own 3.65 million for the "Center for Grape Genetics". Plus we threw in an extra one hundred grand for the study of grape genetics in the Empire State, and $322,000 to Washington state for their "Wine & Grape Foundation". All totaled, the American taxpayer is spending nearly 10 Million Dollars on grapes and grape genome research this year alone. Of course, with the Grape Breeding 2006 Conference in Udine, Italy this year, me thinks there's a few, well connected, grape "researchers" and their families, traveling first class to Italy, on our tab this July.

3. Two million dollars for something called "Fish Screens". Who knew fish had a problem with mosquitoes?

2. One million bucks to Wyoming for the "Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Conservation Program". I don't care how much money we spend, we'll never get the Grizzly Bears to care enough about the environment to stop making messes out of people's camp sites.

Finally, the #1 Funniest Waste of Tax Dollars, what might best be described as Pork for Pork's Sake...
1. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars to North Carolina for "Swine Waste Management". Sure it's only half a mill, but can there be a more ironic misuse of our money?

Happy Tuesday

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