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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Brother, can you spare a dime? Oops, I mean a few billion to help get our State out of the hole we are in…not to mention 18.4 Trillion to cover our national deficit. Have you ever wondered where our hard-earned tax money goes? The list of worthy (and unworthy) causes has created a deficit that boggles the mind and is causing panic in the hearts of lawmakers and citizens throughout the land. It seems our government has been spending money like a bunch of drunken sailors! Now it is time to “face the music” and the tune doesn’t sound real pretty. As several elected officials have said, “We are broke.” Sadly, these three words seem to be repeated by dozens of lawmakers across the country. Of course, just because we are “in the red,” doesn’t mean we still can’t spend the green.

If we use last year’s national budget as an indicator of how money can be wasted, read on. Did you know that $12,600 had been set aside just for waffle irons for the Congressional dining room? Put me in charge of acquisitions and I’ll go to the local thrift store and pick up a few used waffle irons that may cost twenty bucks! Better yet, why not serve pancakes to all those politicians? There may be less “waffling” on issues. Dear Readers, can we really trust the men and women who are running this country if they have to eat waffles in the morning? That’s not even grown-up food!

Have you ever considered that it cost $112,350 for brass polish for the Marine Corps Band that serves the White House? I am not making this up! Little did we know that brass polish is part of the defense budget! We all recognize the importance of shiny trumpets and trombones, but I think a cheap solution of baking powder could do the trick. Who would have guessed that our “Top Brass” would have to spend so much, when a little spit (sorry if I’ve grossed you out) and a soft cloth is all that’s required?

I think the aroma of one big pork roast is coming out of the proposed budget report. There are all sorts of stupid (oops, I mean interesting) projects that our government likes supporting. Hey, we’re all paying for this “pork-fest,” so maybe we need to pay attention and insist on having any new budget (all hundred volumes) be posted on the internet so we can read it and weep. Perhaps the American people would have something to say about over 5 million being spent to study alcohol consumption on college campuses. I have a better idea – let’s just watch MTV for a few days during Spring Break and (for free) we might see everything we’ve ever wanted to know.

Will our lives be enriched by spending $2,075,000 in order to establish the Skateboard Hall of Fame? I fail to see why federal dollars should be spent in such a foolish manner. Perhaps starting a disability fund for the young kids who have fractured arms and not enough health insurance might be a wiser move. Maybe handing out free helmets would get us more bang for the buck. But, no, instead we need a Hall of Fame?

There’s almost a million dollars that was allocated last year to study the impact of the 1994 devaluation of the Mexican peso and its effect on the U.S. ball bearing industry! That takes a whole lot of “ball bearings” for our elected officials to put that into our budget. Did you know that a skating rink in New York needs renovating to the tune of $615,000? Yes, it’s true. We also have spent over 3 million for the District of Columbia to promote a Miss District of Columbia pageant. What the heck is happening here?

How much does it cost to build a gas station in Afghanistan? Well, there was $200,000 in the Pentagon’s budget for this disaster that somehow ended up costing 43 million bucks! How? Why? No answers from the Department of Defense, the same agency that is “demanding” an extra 25 Billion in this year’s budget. Gee, we the taxpayers, should feel really safe that a 43 million dollar gas station stands (mostly unused) in Afghanistan.

I think we might be better off spending 43 million dollars for the psychiatrists who need to check out our politicians who think frivolous spending is helpful and another million bucks to send each of them to a college class on “basic accounting.” There’s a deficit all right, and it’s in the brains of some of our leaders who think they can spend on crazy items, spend more than we have and spend like there’s no tomorrow. Sadly, another “pork-fest” is probably coming. I want to get a job for our government! I may not know how to spend billions, but I do like to shop.

Hey, what’s an average taxpayer to do? Speak up and contact your leaders! Demand to see the budget reports. But first, put a few pork chops in the oven, have a big glass of wine (maybe a bottle of Pepto Bismol), and get ready for a very long night. Oh, did I mention that there’s a little cash (just a few million) that has been allocated to study the sex habits of scorpions and the effects of alcohol on bees? Sounds like a “sting operation” to me.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Contact Judy at