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A More Infuriating Way to Think About Your Tax Burden

Per capita isn't the only way to think about your personal tax burden for minor government programs.

When people talk about the burden of government programs that clearly don't benefit all, most, or even necessarily very many of the taxpayers on the hook for them, you often see their costs calculated in per capita terms across the whole population. Put that way, they seem laughably tiny, not worth even thinking about. Public broadcasting, for example, costs just $1.37 per citizen each year—far less than you pay to avoid getting kicked out of Starbucks every day.

Thomas Hawk on Foter.com / CC BY-NCThomas Hawk on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

But money is fungible, so you can conceptualize the relationship between what you pay in taxes and any given government program or expenditure in a far more infuriating way. Consider, on this magic day of civic responsibility, that every penny of your federal income tax burden this year (and that of any number of other poor suckers with your same income) is going to some relatively small and insignificant government program.

Here are 17 recent government expenditures, ranked from smallest to largest, that some of you may resent your taxes going to. (Not all of these programs expend all their money in one calendar year—but again, money is fungible.) Their costs are calculated in terms of how many citizens with a given taxable income (according to this handy 2017 tax table, which you should bookmark if you just started trying to deal with your 1040 this morning) it takes to pay for the expenditure. For those with taxable incomes higher than $100,000, where the tax table cuts off, the average tax burden for folk within a given range of adjusted gross income is derived from this IRS data (from 2015, the most recent year they offer).

EPA chief Scott Pruitt's absurd $43,000 soundproof booth? Every cent of the tax paid by 22 suckers with taxable incomes of $16,000 will go to pay for it.

Doggie Hamlet. It would be cheap and easy to fill this entire list with specific bits of arts funding. Those who cannot or would not enjoy the art themselves, and who are aware that lots of arts projects manage to support themselves with paying customers or willing patrons, can feel aggrieved by such expenditures. But let's just pick one colorful example, Doggie Hamlet, a live performance that, as described in The Los Angeles Times, "involves a flock of sheep, three herding dogs, six human performers, a few scattered pelts, plenty of green grass and very little (if any) Shakespeare." The Times notes that "Narrative threatened to emerge at points in the production but never really took hold. When language was used, it wasn't always easy to discern what was being said. Speech ultimately seemed no more consequential than bleating or barking." The eccentric show has received, via the New England Foundation for the Arts, $45,000 of our money. That's the total tax burden of five of the sort of $50,000-taxable-income folk who might be apt to trouble themselves to see it.

Legal education for Department of Energy employees. According to a 2017 report from the inspector general for the Department of Energy, the department "paid for 29 college courses, totaling approximately $138,000, for a general engineer to obtain a law degree." The report concluded that most of these courses "were unrelated to his position at the Department," even though the rules governing such payments for employee education "required training be applicable to workplace responsibilities and be mission-oriented." That lucky public employee enjoyed the full 2017 tax payments of 36 Americans with taxable income of $28,000, folk who would likely be hard pressed to pay for their own legal education.

The Chesapeake Bay Journal. The EPA has been giving $325,000 a year to this publication, which, as Reason contributing editor Walter Olson notes, "was extensively covering proposed EPA budget cuts and framing them as threats to the bay." While not all of the publication's mission was dedicated to coverage that pleased the EPA, elements of that payment did involve some self-reflexive lobbying for its own mission, eating up the entire tax payments of more than 67 Americans with taxable incomes of $35,000.

Tomahawk missile. A single one of the 66 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles that rained down on three Syrian targets this week cost $1.4 million. Chump change for the government, but it's the entire tax burden of 446 people at the taxable income level of $24,000 (likely close to that of a typical infantryman who might find himself harmed by the escalation of war in Syria).

Research on incentives to lose weight. Like arts funding, federal social science research funding is a bunch of costly fish in an expensive barrel when making a list like this. So I'll include just one item. As reported in Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford's Federal Fumbles, "over the last five years the NIH [National Institutes of Health] has spent $1.6 million on research to discover that people paid to lose weight tend to lose more weight than those not paid to lose weight." To determine this, "the researchers divided participants into three groups to see which would lose more weight: a group given direct financial compensation, a group whose members were entered into a lottery to incentivize weight loss, and a group in which everyone was given daily encouragement but no compensation." It wasn't hard to predict the results, "since an almost identical trial was funded by the NIH through a grant to the same university and researcher in 2008. In that trial, the groups receiving the direct financial incentive and those in the lottery lost more weight than those without a financial incentive to lose weight." That exploration into some basic economics of incentives, pettily priced as it might be for government work, still amounts to the total tax burden of 42 low-grade fat cats with adjusted gross incomes in the $200,000–$250,000 a year range.

Afghan prison. A depressing but powerfully symbolic expense of our 17 years and counting in Afghanistan is the $11.3 million the U.S. spent to build Baghlan Prison there. Three of its buildings were unusably poorly constructed, according to a 2017 report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction. Attention, American citizens with $15,000 in taxable income: 6,319 of you are giving your entire debt to Uncle Sam to keep Afghans imprisoned in a crummy construction project.

Unused IRS email program. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported in 2016 that the IRS had "purchased subscriptions for an enterprise e-mail system that, as it turned out, it could not use. The purchase was made without first determining project infrastructure needs, integration requirements, business requirements, security and portal bandwidth, and whether the subscriptions were technologically feasible on the IRS enterprise....The IRS authorized the $12 million purchase of subscriptions over a two-year period between June 2014 and June 2016. However, the software to be used via the purchased subscriptions was never deployed." For 4,728 Americans with taxable income of $20,000, your total payments in 2017 to this same IRS will equal this particular wasted expense.

The federal government's car collection. A 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on federally owned vehicles found that just two of the agencies whose car ownership and use it reviewed, the Customs and Border Patrol and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, "cumulatively incurred an estimated $13.5 million in depreciation and maintenance costs in fiscal year 2015" for vehicles they were unable to prove had even been used that year. For 2,001 Americans of $44,000 taxable income, who would likely be keenly aware of the service they were or were not receiving from vehicles they might or might not own, all their tax burden goes to those federal mystery vehicles.

Donald Trump's inauguration. Not something most of us went to, not something many of us ever wanted to happen in the first place. And despite over $100 million raised from private sources to defray expenses, it also cost at least $100 million in public funds. Which means it ate up the entire average tax burdens of at least 5,575 taxpayers whose adjusted gross incomes were from $100,000–$200,000.

Federal grazing fees. This program supposedly puts money in the federal coffers, but by the time government is done with it, it tends to spend $120 million a year more than it takes in administering the program, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Biological Diversity. That's the total tax burden of 6,577 Americans with a taxable income of $90,000, who can certainly afford their own beef but perhaps shouldn't have their entire tax payments go toward subsidizing the people who raise it.

Using the National Guard to fight the drug war. I'm sure those who joined the National Guard to defend their country are delighted that Congress in fiscal 2017 earmarked $150 million for, in the words of the Center Against Government Waste, "the National Guard Counter-Drug Program...which allows for the use of military personnel in domestic drug enforcement operations [despite] the existing Drug Enforcement Administration...budget of $2.1 billion." Is it constitutional? The National Guard certainly thinks so, and wasting Guard members time and ruining innocent American lives is eating up the entire tax payment of 10,348 Americans with a reasonably hefty taxable income of $75,000.

Navy Air Operations Center. Some government programs are so apparently insignificant the government just abandons them before they are completed, like what Defense News last year described as "a network upgrade for the Air Operations Center, a key tool used by the service to plan and conduct air operations." It was cancelled last year after an estimated $745 million had already been spent failing to get it off the ground. If you've got an adjusted gross income of over a quarter-million yourself, you and 4,137 of your fellow plutocrats had to cough up all your 2017 taxes to cover that mistake.

F-35 fighter plane. The mere acquisition cost of the troubled F-35 fighter plane is now estimated at $164.6 million per jet, never mind the cost of keeping them operational over a lifetime. If you're earning in the $100,000–$200,000 a year range of adjusted gross income, and you and 9,176 of your fellow Americans are on the hook for your entire yearly tax bill to get just one of those monstrosities onto the field.

Public relations. The federal government doesn't have to sell anything to survive, but rather lives off money appropriated whether the poor folk paying for it want to or not. You might think such an entity doesn't feel the need to spend much on public relations. You would be wrong. It takes 414,258 poor folk with taxable income of $10,000 to pay for the recent average of $430 million a year spent on public relations employees of the federal government, according to a 2016 GAO report.

Fighter planes that the F-35 is supposed to replace. Remember that F-35 that costs $164.6 million per jet? While we're waiting for that decades-long program to come to complete fruition, the Center Against Government Waste points out, we are also spending—in fiscal year 2017 alone—$1.02 billion

for four earmarks funding two planes intended to be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): $979 million for 12 additional F/A-18 E/F Hornets for the Navy; $24.8 million for F-16 mission training center simulators; $12 million for a missile warning system for the F-16; and $5 million for anti-jamming GPS for the F-16. The Air Force declared its variant of the JSF to be combat ready in August 2016, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract. However, a report released in the same month by former DOD Operational Test and Evaluation Director Michael Gilmore found that, "achieving full combat capability with the Joint Strike Fighter is at substantial risk" of not occurring prior to the end of development. The report described the JSF as "… not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver."

If your taxable income is just a nose under the maximum for the tax table, $99,950, 48,629 people just like you are paying around one-fifth of that income every year, your total federal income tax burden, just to keep these planned-to-be-obsolete jets in the air.

San Diego's trolley. What's even more expensive than a notorious Pentagon boondoggle? It's easy for most Americans to be unaware that federal aid for local transportation boondoggles even exists, even (or perhaps especially) if you are one of the many locals who will never use the subsidized transportation. Consider, then, the $1.04 billion that the Department of Transportation has earmarked for extending a San Diego trolley system by 10 miles. That hasn't all been spent yet, but if the department stays the course let's think of how that will add up for San Diegans with taxable incomes of $33,000, whether or not they ever ride the trolley: 223,707 of them just spent their whole tax bills on it.

(A hat tip on guidance to some of these expenditures to Sen. Lankford's Federal Fumbles and to the Center Against Government Waste's Congressional Pig Book.)

Photo Credit: by Thomas Hawk on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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  • Eidde||

    I don't want to get infuriated, I want to get calm and relaxed.

    Me and my goat will be off doing some yoga.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ooh. Bad news on that one, Eddie.

  • Eidde||

    Don't tell anyone, but I use an unlicensed goat-yoga place in Tijuana.

  • Eidde||

    ...which is a business expense, by the way.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Here...

    *passes Eidde a joint*

  • Eidde||

    Nice try, narc.

    Nothing but healthy goat yoga for me...do you think I'm some sort of weirdo?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    do you think I'm some sort of weirdo?

    No, goat yoga is a totally normal thing for a person to do.

    *slowly backs away*

  • Citizen X - #6||

    NOTHING LEFT TO CUT.

  • Aloysious||

    I need another reason (drink!) to get angry about taxes?

  • DajjaI||

    It's amazing how many millions of people work their asses off to pay for stuff that they can only imagine but will never experience. And then when given an opportunity to speak out, it's doubly amazing how few will.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Running a program in such a poor manner as to lose money is not subsidizing the industry that pays the fees to run the program.

  • Magnitogorsk||

    It says if they charged market rates the program would take in twice what it costs. So the ranchers are absolutely being subsidized by taxpayers in this scenario.

  • Don't look at me.||

    No, what it says is: This program supposedly puts money in the federal coffers, but by the time government is done with it, it tends to spend $120 million a year more than it takes in administering the program,

    It's supposed to be run like a business, but it's run by idiots.

  • Trollificus||

    Idiots whose employment, raises and bonuses are in no way tied to efficient performance. And in some cases, perhaps, the opposite, if the agency director is planning to go hat in hand to Congress and plead for more sweet, sweet tax money...

  • EscherEnigma||

    If I charge 100 folks $1 each to run a program that gives a single person a $50 subsidy, the "cost" (value lost) is $50. But that one lucky guy who got the subsidy and paid only $1 got a net +$49.

    So yeah, a program can "cost" more than it "produces" and still be a benefit to a subset of people.

    Which is a different question from whether it *should*.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    OK, fun in an annoying way.

    But I often wonder how people would feel about paying taxes if they could choose how to spend that money. If the 1040 form had maybe a dozen spending categories at the bottom, and each tax payer could check one or two, would they feel better? Would the enviro-pacifists, social do-gooders, and chicken hawks balance out? Would people feel more satisfied that "their" money went only to righteous purpose?

    Could be fun to find out.

  • sarcasmic||

    Leftists would scream and holler about how unfair that would be. They don't want to pay for anything unless everyone else is forced to pay as well. That's fair. Allowing people to choose what they pay for is not fair. No, that wouldn't go over very well.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So maybe you get to choose what your neighbor pays for?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    In a round about way you already do. That's what democracy is all about.

  • sarcasmic||

    Pretty much.

  • CE||

    I choose that my neighbor (and I) don't have to pay anything, but that never happens.

  • Penny_Worth||

    Yes, but the Neo-cons would have their own gripes, too. 'The war on Syria? That's a part of national defense!' Never mind that its an unjust war. Both sides of the aisle have their pet monsters (the Leftists have PP, the Neo-cons have DD- PP=Planned (un) Parenthood, DD= Dependent Dictators) whom the other side is expected not to protest feeding as long as the monster on *their* side is also fed. Enough! I wish Earth Skeptic's idea would be put in place, and it would bring our government at least a millimeter closer to 'government by the consent of the governed. But until a large section of the populace adheres to the Zero Aggression Principle, we are not likely to see it. OTOH, there are Libertarians (Perry Willis and Jim Babka) who are educating others quite well, at www.zeroaggressionproject.org. Enjoy checking it out.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    One of my contorted fantasies has been that Congress can pass their "want" budget, and that sets the mandatory tax rates etc. But people get to choose which program their taxes go to, and those desires cannot be ignored. If the park service asks for $1B but gets $10B, the excess $9B is refunded to those who selected it. If the DEA asks for $100B and gets $1B, they have to economize.

    One feature of this is that popular departments (the park service) will not have to itemize their wants, while unpopular departments (the DEA) will learn to be very specific for the popular parts and lump everything else together.

    Silly but fun to think of.

  • Rossami||

    That exact idea was proposed in a Robert Heinlein novel years ago. (I think it was Moon is a Harsh Mistress?) As Scarecrow supposes below, the government set the total amount and individuals got to allocate where it would go. In the novel, yes, the allocation did balance out with the hawks funding most of defense, etc. The government did retain a fraction that they could still allocate to necessary but unpopular programs. It was presented in the story as a natural extension of the 1966 decision to allow the Presidential Election Campaign checkoff.

    I have often thought that would be a better way of allocating our tax dollars. It wouldn't be perfect by any means - but it could hardly be worse than the cronyism we have today. If nothing else, it would let us feel like we have some small stake in what the government does.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    I'd be more than happy to completely fund government by a kickstarter like mechanism.

    Have congress put up their funding proposals, have people pledge (through some funky escrow mechanism) to fund the proposals they like, then if they hit the funding target, the proposal moves ahead, and if not, the pledges get their money freed.

    No more complaining from taxpayers. Lots more complaining from the freeloaders, but that will make me happy, so it's all good.

  • Let freedom ring||

    Doherty is back at it, telling libertarians how awful the income tax is, only putting a slightly different spin on it, urging us to think about how our tax money should be thought of as paying for a concrete individual program or salary, rather than the per capita snapshot of how it is spent.
    OK Brian, that's swell, but what are libertarians supposed to do with this information? According to you, not much. Think about it as they fill out their 1040, apparently. Possibly vote for a candidate ? Which one? Will voting change anything?
    What Doherty and the rest of the libertarian/conservative establishment will not do is give any coverage to the thousands, probably tens or hundreds of thousands, of Americans who actually do something every year to free themselves from the tax burden. These individuals file 1040's but they file educated 1040's which attest to how they did not have any taxable income and they get full refunds of their federal and state income tax, including payroll taxes.
    Wouldn't that make a better story? Wouldn't Reasonoids like to hear something liberating for a change? Liberating news for libertarians-what a concept!
    https://nontaxpayersforronpaul.blogspot.com/ -in my blog I write about how libertarians like Doherty and Bumper Hornberger are refusing to cover the 18 year success story that has enabled thousands of ordinary Americans to receive these refunds. It is sooooo much easier to write about futility and despair, eh, Brian?

  • Juice||

    Haven't people been sent to prison for very long sentences for trying these techniques and even for merely publicly espousing them?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    -1 Wesley Snipes

  • gormadoc||

    I foresee an awkward meeting with the IRS in your future.

  • Eidde||

    Is this about the gold fringe on the flag?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I get your point; either evade taxes altogether and risk a felony or 2 or 3, or realize there is dick people can generally do about them. The last item, the 1.04 billion $ expansion of the San Diego Trolly that cost $140,000,000 per mile, was a local project. That kind of bullshit should be at the mercy of local constituents, and the consequences should be hellacious. But no, from what I can quickly find online, they are planning an even more expensive expansion.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Seems legit...

  • The Metonymy||

    Wouldn't it be more interesting (albeit equally futile) to argue against progressive income taxation via equal protection under the law?

  • Juice||

    Another way is to think about how many years' worth of one person's taxes it would take to pay for that one Tomahawk missile. Most people's lifetime of taxes wouldn't even pay for one.

  • sarcasmic||

    Many people's lifetime of income wouldn't even pay for one.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Local, state, and federal governments spend roughly $9T a year. Taxes don't fully match that, but never mind. That's roughly $27K per person per year. $108K per year per family of four.

    I know I don't get anywhere near that much worthout of all those governments.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Did some math, cis gendered, patriarchal, and racist as it is:

    San Diego Trolley 10 mile expansion =

    6 J35 fighters
    742 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles or
    24,733 performances of Doggie Hamlet

  • Eidde||

    Hold a bake sale.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I pick Doggie Hamlet. That seems to do the least harm of the available options.

  • libertynugget||

    But... but... but I got tax money back this year!!!!
    Its almost enough to put a down payment in on a new iphone!
    EMOJI's for everyone!!!!!

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sounds good. The closer you can get your withholdings to match your actual tax burden (and this the smaller your refund), the smaller of an interest-free loan that you're giving to the government.

    Which is to say, provided you're doing your taxes correctly (and not missing deductions and so-on), a small refund is a good thing.

  • CE||

    Actually, you want to owe them some cash, just not enough to rack up any penalties or interest. That way they give you an interest free loan.

  • EscherEnigma||

    If you can seeing it, sure. The main point was that a big refund is a bad thing. Heck, I remember the first year out of college, I really screwed my withholdings. Ended up getting a four-figure refund. Went straight to payroll and adjusted my withholdings after *that* one.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So what I'm hearing is that the Bundys and other ranchers who graze on public land should be paying higher fees then they currently are.

  • Eidde||

    Even with higher fees, it would still beat working in that shoe store.

    (this joke is a test to see how old you are)

  • EscherEnigma||

    Jokes on you then, my funny bone was surgically removed at birth. I've *never* gotten jokes.

  • sarcasmic||

    Four touchdowns in a single game...

  • libertynugget||

    My understanding is Bon-Bons are subsidized under the EBT program.

  • MarkLastname||

    I think what you're hearing is that the land should be auctioned off to begin with.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Nah. The grazing fees are well below the rates for private land, so there's plenty of room for them to go up before it *stops* being a subsidy for ranchers. So the highest EV probably isn't from selling the land, but just increasing land-use fees to market levels.

    Same with other natural resourcesv owned by the government. The real money is in leasing and licensing, not selling.

  • DaveSs||

    In line with this idea, I calculated the total tax burden for the wife and I today (State, Local, Federal...basically everything but Sales/Excise taxes)

    A measly 34.4%, and of that, 80% of it went to Uncle Sam who I get the least benefit from.

    My State and Local are annoying, but at least I get tangible, real things for it. The Feds spent 90% of my take on bombs, welfare, and interest.

  • CE||

    My state taxes go to pay the pensions of employees I would never have hired in the first place.

  • The Metonymy||

    Why not tell us how much money the government spends giving out Earned Income Credits and dividing that by the number of taxpayers that don't qualify for EIC. I want to know how many deadbeats I paid for.

  • Trollificus||

    The real problem with those so-called "deadbeats"? They aren't actually dead.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Public broadcasting, for example, costs just $1.37 per citizen each year—far less than you pay to avoid getting kicked out of Starbucks every day.

    I do not want to give either one of these organizations any money. PBS get my taxpayer money.

    Do people still waste their money on Starbucks and hang there?

    You know you can retire years earlier if you cut out high priced coffee every day?

  • sarcasmic||

    When I am away from home and have to work on my laptop, I've been known to enjoy a cup of their coffee while using their free internet and electricity.

  • CE||

    There was a poll last week that said 50 percent of people would give up coffee for one thousand dollars a year. Even though they don't.

  • Lester224||

    I don't think PBS needs the money. But we need F-35s even less.

  • Hank Phillips||

    But the 16th and 18th Amendments were legally injected into the Constitution at about the same time by the same voters. Easier for a hummingbird to fly to Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail than for either of those Sacred Amendments to be repealed, right?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, what's infuriating is dumbasses like doherty think that those earning 16k or 25k are net taxpayers.

    But let's play the game anyway. Legalizing Dreamers would cost 1.45 million 16k earners their entire tax bill every year.

  • CE||

    My entire federal tax burden supports one non-essential federal employee.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A whole one? Lucky! I just got, like, some Parks Service data entry temp's left arm and buttcheek.

  • madam margaret||

    rather than consider that the net benefit is small relative to the cost for anything government does… consider this: that most of the above have side or balancing effects that actually *cause* harm… so we're buying harm with our tax money…not primarily a question of waste, but damage

  • Tionico||

    Hadn't heard about Scott pruitt's $43K soundproof room. Not one of the more egregious expenditures, but perhaps unnecessary (we don't yet know the rationale behind that project.. WHY is it needed?) HOWEVER, if Pruitt follows through on his stated intention to make the CAFE standards go poof, and in addition trashes the insane and costly with no benefit mandated alcohol in fuel programmes, and manages to make it allowable to again burn clean coal for electric generation, I'd say that $43K waste, if that's really what it is, would easily be forgiveable. My electric bill has tripled since the kinyun ascended the throne. New cars, with all their garbage engineering and standards and weight shaving insanity, are of the sort I'd never want to own, let alone can afford. My cars are all diesel, so the methanol fuel does not torture me.. until I try to find non-ethanol fuel for lawnmowers, outboards, chainsaws, stationary powerplants, etc.. But there is NO WAY I'll ever own a diesel powered rig that requires the blue horse pee to be added to that extra tank.

    Let's see now, shave three grand off the price of a mid-sized new car, it would only take fourteen sales to return that $43K back to some lucky public folks. I'd say that's a bargain. But hey, Scott, don't do it again. Ir of you do, call me. I'd be happy to put that together for you for half that price.

  • Tionico||

    then there was this:

    • Federal grazing fees. This program supposedly puts money in the federal coffers, but by the time government is done with it, it tends to spend $120 million a year more than it takes in administering the program,

    How many millions did BLM, USFS and other FedGov clubs waste when they decided to persecute Cliven Bundy and family for their alledged non-payment of those fees, which in his case had been paid to the rightful owner of the land he was using.... the State of Nevada. How many MORE taxbux were spent trying to put that family and their friends behind bars for a few decades, which attempt, in a surprising but VERY welcome turnabout, splattered rotten egg all over the faces of the lying cheating FBI, DOJ, BLM, USFS, and related goons?
    And HOW MANY of those FedGoons have been indicted for their perjury and collusion and malfeasance in the conduct the original raid and "trials" that ensued?

    This little factoid is just more ammunition for pressing the return of ALL Fed lands to the states in whcih they are situate. FedGov are NOT supposed to own or manage such lands. The COnstitution they all swore to uphold specifically describes the ONLY lands FedGov can own/manage, and clearly lays out HOW FedGov are to get that land. This has NOT been done, yet these alphabet agencies persist in their illegal activities... like National Guard being used for law enforcement? Ever hear of posse comitatus?

  • James Pollock||

    "This little factoid is just more ammunition for pressing the return of ALL Fed lands to the states in whcih they are situate"

    Funny you chose the word "return", seeing how in most of the western states, the federal government owned all the land before there were states there.

    Article I, Section 9, is the part of the Constitution where powers that are denied to Congress are listed. "Owning land" isn't there. Amendment 5 prohibits the federal government from taking property without compensation. It doesn't prohibit the government from taking ownership WITH compensation.

    Thus dies the elegant theory that the federal government can't own land under the Constitution.

  • ragnar_rahl||

    "

    Article I, Section 9, is the part of the Constitution where powers that are denied to Congress are listed. "Owning land" isn't there
    "
    That's not how "enumerated powers" works.

  • Lester224||

    There's no such thing as "clean coal". Coal is dead. Natural gas is cheaper. Subsidizing coal is just a cronyist as subsidizing solar (and more because subsidizing coals doesn't create as many jobs as subsidizing solar does- not that either needs subsidizing).

  • Wonderer||

    Why is Reason quoting the Center for Biological Diversity? Do you know how they make their money? Do you think they believe in freedom?

  • James Pollock||

    The one that infuriates me is when they pass a tax plan that increases my taxes, and call it a "tax cut".

  • geo||

    You lost me when you cited the Center for Biological Diversity. These are basically legal shysters that shake down the government by suing them over trivial and ungrounded issues, like suing because the government failed to protect species that are not even endangered. Never an honest word has come from their mouth. It really makes me mad when my tax dollars are used as payola for these crooks, and they rip us off for millions of dollars each year so these fucking lawyers can drive hundred thousand dollar Teslas. More than likely your "facts" regarding grazing fees are just made up shit that CBD has no research to back up. They are totally averse to science and openly admit to just making stuff up. They even manage to hide how much they make by having the government pay the lawyers directly, rather than paying CBD, so they can claim they don't earn the millions they have bilked from taxpayers.

  • Gorbag||

    I want to get mad at the waste of money, but on the other hand, I'm thankful I don't get all the government I pay for....

  • CLTFatcat||

    Thanks for ruining my day. Now back to work. It'll take me another year to generate my contribution to the LA farm arts.

  • prediksi singapore||

    Kaum Kiri akan berteriak dan berteriak tentang betapa tidak adilnya hal itu. Mereka tidak mau membayar untuk apa pun kecuali orang lain dipaksa membayar juga. Itu adil. Membiarkan orang memilih apa yang mereka bayar tidak adil. Tidak, itu tidak akan berjalan dengan baik.

  • pemaintoto||

    Tetapi Amandemen ke-16 dan ke-18 secara hukum disuntikkan ke dalam Konstitusi pada saat yang sama oleh pemilih yang sama. Lebih mudah bagi burung kolibri untuk terbang ke Mars dengan Monumen Washington terikat pada ekornya daripada untuk salah satu dari Amandemen Sakral yang dicabut, bukan?

  • ScottK||

    It is easier for a hummingbird to fly to Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail than get anyone at Reason (sic) to consider that taxes don't matter, only your standard of living matters, whether you live here or in Indonesia.

    Hat tip to pemaintoto.

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