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Op-Ed: Our Servants, Your Money, and a Calculator

By Sherri Reese     Feb 6, 2009 in Politics
Do you have a job in the United States of America? If so, you may want to know what your public servants are doing with your money in Washington DC. They have flushed over $900 of yours down the toilet already.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act authorized a program called TARP. TARP is the Troubled Asset Relief Program and was passed on October 3, 2008. This is commonly called “The Bailout Bill”. The price tag put on this bill was $700 billion dollars. The “Stimulus Bill” that sits in the Senate right now is set to spend an additional $800 Billion. Has anyone in DC bothered to give us the math on just how much of our money they want to spend here?
According to the Current Population Survey there are 142,099,000 jobs in the United States as of the end of January of 2009. This includes agriculture, non-agriculture, payroll jobs, and the self-employed. This means that $4,926.14 per job has been allocated just on the TARP bill. We still do not know what the final amount of the Stimulus Bill will be, but we can currently estimate it to be at least $800 billion. That $800 billion will cost an additional $5,629.88 per job. The grand total of just these two bills comes to $10,553.02 per job.
If you have a job, you pay taxes, right? Wrong. If you have a job, it does not necessarily mean that you actually pay Federal Income Taxes. This is where things get tricky, and the math cannot be as exact as we would like, however we sure can get close. It is estimated that only 60% of those who file taxes, actually pay Federal Income Tax. This means that about 85,259,400 Americans are actually paying for these bills.
Revise the figures to only include taxpayers, and it gets even worse. TARP alone will cost $8,210.24 per tax payer and we can safely estimate that the Stimulus Bill will cost an additional $9,383.13 per tax payer. Now the grand total, for just these two bills, comes to $17,593.37. And that is JUST these two bills. The Government still plans to spend another $3,000,000,000,000 dollars to fund the rest of the Fed Government this year!
If you are not frustrated yet, just wait, it gets better.
Out of the $700 billion dollars allocated for the Bailout Bill, only $294 billion has been spent so far. According to Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor who serves on the Advisory Committee Board for the FDIC, and heads up an oversight panel on TARP, $78 billion has already been misspent. The Treasury spent $245 billion dollars on assets only worth $176 billion. This means that 26% of the money already spent has literally been wasted, and some of these “troubled” banks made out like bandits! Just that waste alone works out to be $914.86 per tax payer.
At this rate, each taxpayer can expect that $4,574.28 of their money allocated to these two bills will be completely wasted. I don’t know about you, but I am sure we could do a much better job with our money than our public servants in DC can!
Here is another way to look at this. If you are a real taxpayer, and you make around $47,500 per year, the Treasury has already wasted one week’s pay for you. Or, we can compare this spending to the price tag on the War on Terror. According to Stars and Stripes, “The Pentagon has spent $864 billion on combat operations since 2001.” This means that the cost of these two bills alone, submitted in the past 4 months, would be almost double what we have spent in the past 7 years on the Afghan and Iraqi Wars.
We have not even touched the issue of interest on this spending and what it means to the American tax payer. Louie Hunter of Americans for Tax Reform points out the long term effects,” Needless to say this stimulus package will be DOA just as soon as the checks are mailed. The only ones making any money will be the Federal Reserve and our great grandchildren will be paying our bills. "
The GAO (Government Accountability Office) is required to oversee TARP, and is assigned to do a report every 60 days on their findings. According to their latest report, released on February 5, 2009, they are unable to calculate if any of the $294 billion already spent has made any impact on economy. I would point out that the loss of 598,000 jobs in January of 2009 would indicate that the Treasury has done nothing to actually help. Congress needs scrap the current stimulus bill, forget their retreats (both parties), and have sit down with the folks that helped this country recover from the economic disaster of the late 1970’s.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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