Wasteful spending? 20 things the government buys with your money

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18 2014 10:29 p.m. MST

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West Coast1
Secane, PA

Most of these are ridiculous, except for improving the biking in Seattle. If this money goes into making bike lanes, that seems to me to be a productive use of money. It will make biking safer for those who wish to commute. More bikers on the road means less pollution and healthier people.

On another note. My personal favorite from this list is "puppets." We spend 7 figures on those creepy things?


Navy Destroyers $21 billion - for three of them ($7 billion each). (Never deployed to hostile waters)
Ohio-class Submarines $36 billion (It's about $50 million per year to run and these have been around for decades. Replacement cost is said to be $4 billion per)
Austal USA Independence-class ships $13 billion
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey $50 billion
Newport News Nimitz-class aircraft carrier $55 billion (Each one will be refueled at least once, at a cost of $2.5 Billion, so another $25 Billion for $80 Billion total.When they're decommissioned, it will cost an estimated $700 Million - $900 Million. Each. I'll be generous and say it's on the low end for a running $87 Billion total)
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit $42 billion
Ballistic Missile Defense System $120 billion (still only in the development stage)
F-22 $72 billion (never seen combat)
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning $400 billion (7 years behind schedule and %200 over budget)

So, about that $10,000 pizza party? You could solve world hunger with these numbers.


On the Medicaid program, I wondered about the statement that it costs $30 million more than in generates. The program may very well be serving as a disincentive to unscrupulous behavior by doctors and other health professionals. Thus, although it may not turn a profit, it might prevent more fraud or mistakes by the fact that the providers would be more careful and less likely to push the envelope because they know they might be audited.

Provo, UT

I don't think this one qualifies as wasteful spending, per se. You'd have to convince me that the spending here wasn't effective at what it intended to do, or was a disproportionate amount for the job.

I've been involved in similar initiatives, and it takes a lot of time and effort to put together plans for streets better suited to multi-use traffic. Walking and biking are important elements of our transportation infrastructure, and if we could utilize them more often and more safely, we'd see a host of benefits.

Virginia Beach, VA

Deseret News is showing its Right Wing Stripes with this article. Haven't I seen this misreporting on FOX "NEWS" already? Those gardens in Boston aren't for "landscaping." They're for food production.

And isn't it fascinating that the Republican Red States accept much more money from the federal government per capita than the Democratic Blue States?

Virginia Beach, VA

And that's not the worst of it.

Republican Red States sure know how to weasel money out of the American taxpayer.

About 1.3 BILLION federal dollars was spent on the Salt Lake City Olympic games in 2002.

But less than a 100 million American taxpayer dollars was spent on the Los Angeles summer Olympics.

Is that even Constitutional? How in the world does spending taxpayer money to enhance Utah tourism, enrich local businesses, and pad Mitt Romney's resume in any way help the average American?

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Though disappointed, I am not surprised that the DesNews failed to include the billions in corporate subsidies (net affect is the same as spending) given to the oil companies every year, which already happen to be the world's most profitable entities. Neither did they include the billions in bailout monies provided to an irresponsible financial sector. Further, they omitted the billions provided to conservative states, like Utah, year after year after year because Utah and most other conservative states fail to generate enough money on their own to even function at the most basic levels.

The terribly obvious slant of the DesNews is getting old. Perhaps just report the news rather than try to gin up discontent among a rapidly dwindling conservative base?


To those who are complaining about the extreme right-wing slant of the Deseret News, please understand the context. They are owned by the LDS church and must report based on that viewpoint and the viewpoint of most of their readership. I do not hold this against the Deseret News in any way at all, in fact it is one of the main reasons (if not the absolute main reason) that I read DN every day. Their opinion pages reflect the viewpoint of their owner. That is to be expected, and honestly accepted. I am not LDS, but I read the opinion pages of the DN and I listen to Glenn Beck to better understand what LDS people think and what their viewpoint is of the world. I think that is one of the greatest benefits of having a paper (or online news source) like the Deseret News, and I hope they never change.

Wallsburg, UT


Why do you comment on these boards? Is it to pick a fight? Because if it was to inform or persuade anyone then you would include the source of your information rather than simply commenting what appears to be your opinion. After all there is no source provided but your own declaration. Which leaves me to conclude that you either want your opinion heard, or you want to argue.

DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT

Are you forgetting something. Obama Family, Agents and "Friends" are being spent on Vacations.

I am sure there are more than that on wastefull things.

Wallsburg, UT


I believe there is a scripture that says, the truth will set you free. It may be taken out of context but news should portray the truth. Editorial and opinion sections still need to be based on the truth. I look to the scriptures and general conference when seeking guidance on what the Church leaders think and say, not the Deseret News. I highly doubt any church leader approved this article if true, it cannot be said to represent the ideaology of the Church. Deseret Book is owned by the church as well, and in my opinion does not practice business the way Christ would. Nonetheless I see that act as Deseret Book's not Monson's.

Virginia Beach, VA

DukeVandal - Why do I comment on these boards? Why not?

Do you think your first amendment rights take precedent over my first amendment rights? I disagree.

The Deseret News didn't cite its sources either.

But if you know how to type the word "google" into your browser window, it's reasonably easy to verify claims.

Give it a try and get back to me.

But please try to differentiate between credible and incredible sites, OK?


Colorado Springs, CO

Father of four, all those items listed equal your freedom to complain that the government over spends. I agree some of it is excessive but it is essentail we maintain the military advantage to continue to ensure our freedoms.

Boise, ID

Lefties and righties unite. We can all agree that the government wastes money. If something wastes money, shouldn't we give it less?

Virginia Beach, VA


Check out Politifact article entitled "Republican-leaning states get more in federal dollars than they pay in taxes."

Politifact evaluated this claim:

"Of the 32 states which receive more than they contribute, 27 states (84%) are REPUBLICAN. Of the 18 states which contribute more than they receive, 14 states (78%) are DEMOCRATIC."

And came up with this verdict:

Mostly True

Ted Cruz and just about every right wing propaganda mill in existence thought Politifact was evil and jaded . . . UNTIL Politifact criticized Obama. Then those same RW propaganda mills, including FOX "NEWS," cited Politifact as the most credible of sources.

Wallsburg, UT


I will address some of your points. My replies will be in parenthesis.

Do you think your first amendment rights take precedent over my first amendment rights? I disagree. (In no way did I try to infringe on your freedom of expression or speech. I invited you to exercise that right by explaining why you did something. You may have misinterpereted what I wrote.)

The Deseret News didn't cite its sources either. (So both are opinion.)

But if you know how to type the word "google" into your browser window, it's reasonably easy to verify claims.

Give it a try and get back to me. (I was never addressing the validity of your claims, nor do I intend to. If I had, I would have made supported counter-claims. I simply asked why you commented. I would suggest, however, if you are trying to persuade anyone, a more amlicable approach is likely to have greater success.)

But please try to differentiate between credible and incredible sites, OK? (Really, a capital OK? Are you trying to be elevate yourself by writting down? The exchange of ideas should be civil, it should engender understanding and communication, not contention.)

There you go GaryO!

Anti Government
Alpine, UT

The list gets longer every year of what the govt wastes money on and yet.....voters line up every year and do what?

They listen to the politicians fill their heads with lies about "what govt will do for them" and when it is all said and done people get a fraction of what they were told and the waste grows exponentially.

Rinse. Repeat.

When are people going to wake and realize that both parties have failed?

The politicians have successfully divided the people/us so that we can be beaten. The only people who win are the politicians who remain in office term after term. Building their power and their "favor bucket" with various businesses so when the day actually comes to leave office these companies pay them off with multimillion dollar lobbying gigs or jobs that require nothing.

Vote EVERY elected representative out EVERY term. Get rid of all the long standing power brokers who facilitate all these horrific messes they call legislation.

The best politician is a short term one.

Stop playing into politicians hands. Stop being used.

Vote them all out. No exceptions.

Its our only hope of cleaning things up and stopping the waste.

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey IDC - You asked "If something wastes money, shouldn't we give it less?"

Well that depends.

You live in Idaho, and Idaho is a net gainer. In other words, Idaho receives more in federal funding than it pays out in federal taxes.

So you should probably just donate another few hundred dollars to the Federal Government on top of your taxes to even things out a little bit.

Thanks for asking.

Wallsburg, UT

Gary, may I call you Gary, not GaryO?

I looked up the Red State Socialism, the chart behind the Politifact article entitled "Republican-leaning states get more in federal dollars than they pay in taxes."

The chart measures Federal Spending per Federal Taxes. I do not have sufficient time to find out what fiscal policies are included in Federal Spending allocated to a specific state. An example, if there is a national park in a state did the study include money spent on that park in the money the state recieved? What about other land by the Feds? In order to understand what the study is saying we need to understand what they measured. What all is included in Federal Spending? Does it include border patrol? If so is it a fair study if it attributes the fiscial ammount to the border states rather than the states benefiting from the policy i.e. all states?

Once again in half an hour I could not find asnwers to these questions. But before I accept it as true, I need to know what is being measured and how. The study is ambiguos, as most are. From both sides. If there really are two sides.

Please let me know if you can find what they included and how in both Federal Spending and Federal Taxes recieved.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


If you are proposing everything be a net neutral as far as taxes and funding, lets do it! That's what republicans have been saying for years.

You and I likely pay roughly the same in federal income tax. Mitt Romney pays millions in federal income tax. And like you say, things should be more equal. You and I use about the same govt resources as Mitt. Just because he is rich does NOT mean he pays more in federal income tax.

So based on your logic we really should be forcing net gainer taxpayers who pay less than they receiving in the form of govt resources should be paying more than those like Mitt Romney who pay much more then they take in govt resources should be paying less.

Great idea GraryO! Thanks for suggesting that.

Virginia Beach, VA

Anti Government - I'm guessing you vote the Tea Party line.

But you know what happens when you vote government-hating candidates into positions of governmental authority, don't you?

They make it a point to demonstrate just how bad government can be.

The Tea-Party-tainted US House of Representatives is a good example.

USS Enterprise, UT

They missed one of my favorite government pork projects. The albino squirrel sanctuary in Tennessee. That places gets several hundred thousand dollars every year.

If you think I am making that up, read "Squirrels nearly bring Senate to a halt" at CNN.

They should have also mentioned the millions spent on a study to find out why Lesbians are overweight. See "Feds Spend $1.5 million to Study Obese Lesbians" at Fox News.

To "GaryO" you also should realize that the reason why states get more money than they contribute is becase the Feds told the states that they will pay them for all of the federal land within the state borders. Think of it this way, how much money could Utah could collect all of the royalties that ranchers pay to the Feds went directly to the state? If you want Utah and other states with large amounts of federally owned land to get less money from the federal government, then turn the federal land over to the state to control.

Why would I?
Farmington, UT

For all of you upset at the feds, when was the last time you attended a budget hearing of your own city and asked some questions? Washington DC has nothing over local city government when it comes to shady deals and back-room politics but one thing: scale. The rest is the same.

Interesting at a State level, too. And don't leave out counties, either.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Chris B,

"If you are proposing everything be a net neutral as far as taxes and funding, lets do it! That's what republicans have been saying for years".

They may say it, but when it comes to instituting government practices when they are in power that would match their rhetoric, they have done just the opposite.

Virginia Beach, VA

Your straw man doesn't help you.

To clarify, Mitt Romney should pay much more in federal income taxes in order for everything to be equitable.

Thanks to the Founding Fathers, Romney's wealth was made possible by the government of the United States, that set up a political, social, and business infrastructure allowing him to build that wealth.

And guess what . . . There is NO free lunch, no matter how much you and Mitt insist there should be.

This nation facilitated Romney in amassing huge earnings. Thus he is obligated to give back in the form of huge taxes. That's the basic pattern of the graduated income tax scale . . . so simple really.

In spite of all the posturing of so many Right Wingers, who claim to be somehow superior in terms of patriotism, godliness, adherence to the Constitution, and basic goodness . . . the reality is completely the opposite.

The Constitution indicates that one goal of government to promote and provide for the General Welfare . . . The GENERAL welfare, NOT just the welfare of high earners.

See how simple that is? Glad I could help.

Salt Lake City, UT

"If something wastes money, shouldn't we give it less?"

In this case if we decreased revenue and did nothing else all we'd get out of it is a larger deficit. I'd rather target the problem itself and just make targeted cuts to things that are wasteful like billions on a set of military aircraft the defense department even says it doesn't want but is getting because certain key reps/senators have those jobs in their districts/states.

Sugar City, ID

Romney is a genius at fixing things and this is government squandering of our funds is one thing he would have fixed. Oh, how I wish he had been elected.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "GaryO" you want Romney to give back more to the US, well he does a lot more than you think he does. First, he pays more in taxes than he is legally required. Second, his income is investment income, and is not a salary. Next, you should look at his charitable giving, he gives away more money per year than you will probably earn each year. He has been known to give away 29% of his income. If you exclude tithing, that still is 20% of his income he is giving away. That means that between taxes, and his generosity he is giving away between 34% and 39% of his income, or 44% to 49% of his income if you include tithing.

How much more do you want from him? Do you give away 29% of your income to your church and other charitable organizations?

Hyrum, UT

@ GaryO:

You apparently didn't do much research before making your comments to this article. If you had, you'd have already known the 2002 SLC Olympics took place just months after the 9/11 terrorist attack. As such, that public venue was placed on high-alert by the federal government which also dictated the high-cost unprecedented levels of security. Hence the $1 billion cost contribution from the federal government. Shouldn't be too hard for you to understand.

Why is it that any news not liberal oriented and coming from MSNBC is called "mis-reporting" by you? That shows the ultra-liberal bias to your comments and makes it hard (if not impossible) to give any credibility to those comments. Since I noticed the obvious lack of objectiveness, I'm sure most other readers did too.

As such, you really weren't much help, as you were so "glad" to give yourself credit for being. From reading the subsequent comments of other readers, it appears none of them received much (if any) help from your liberal-tainted comments, either. But you're welcome to come back and try again.

Hyrum, UT

@ GaryO:

Concerning Mitt Romney... apparently one of your favorite bash topics.

He pays more in federal taxes each and every year than you almost undoubtedly will ever make in your entire lifetime. It seems from your apparent envy of the rich that you are not one of them.

Even though he does pay those $tens of millions in federal taxes each year, he undoubtedly gets back much less in entitlements and direct benefits (security nets, etc.) than either you or me or most other folks. I know the military doesn't guard him any more than it does other citizens who pay no taxes at all (the 47%).

Since none of his wealth was given to him and is all self-made, it's obvious he's a financial genius. And given the financial condition of our country right now, it's really, really too bad someone more financially astute isn't currently running our country. Re-electing our current administration was probably the biggest mistake our electorate has made in decades. And that is becoming more and more obvious by the week.

Virginia Beach, VA

Thank God for the Wisdom, the Patriotism, and the can-do ethic of President Obama and the Democrats, helping this nation persevere, prosper, and progress . . . even in the face of America's furious and tenacious enemies, both foreign and domestic.

And God Bless America.

Oh and just a reminder . . . April 15th is right around the corner.

Woodland Hills, UT

Every last politician needs to be fired!

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