Happy Tax Day: Your Tax Dollars Used to Study Male Prostitutes

One of my favorite things to not like is taxes.

And seeing as April 15 is on Monday (get busy, you slackers!), I figured it was an opportune time to talk about taxes and government waste.

Do you know the U.S. federal government pays out millions of dollars in fraudulent refund claims to prisoners every year?

This was a new one to me…

Apparently, inmates are so well taken care of… and have so much time on their hands… they’re able to file fraudulent tax returns claiming that the government owes them money.

“It’s a serious problem, and it’s a growing problem,” said Inspector General J. Russell George.

In 2005, the IRS identified 21,000 fraudulent inmate tax returns, asking for a combined $80.4 million dollars. That number has ballooned to 276,000 fraudulent inmate claims in 2012, asking for a total of $1.7 billion. While the IRS catches 94 percent of the bogus inmate requests, the refunds that reach scammers are still staggering.

“We’re still talking hundreds of millions of dollars, and that’s outrageous given the fiscal restraints the nation finds itself in,” George said.

That these inmates can even get tax returns while in prison is ridiculous.

But then again, our “justice” and prison system is just as much of a joke as our tax system is.

Americans just love to lock them up some people. I mean, they really love it. Why else would we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world?

As a percentage, we’ve got more people locked up than Russia or even Rwanda!

Here’s the American idea of justice in a nutshell:

  • A murder kills your child.
  • They give the murder a life sentence in jail.
  • Then the state puts a gun to your head and forces you to pay taxes in order to clothe, feed, and entertain the murder for the rest of his life.

In America, we don’t have justice.

We simply pile one crime on top of another so the victim can suffer as long as possible.

So what do our taxes pay for?

As I already mentioned, we’re lining the pockets of inmates with hundreds of millions in government cash. (I wonder, are the prison libraries stocked with Matthew Lesko books?)

But your taxes get wasted in many more equally outrageous ways.

The Economic Collapse Blog lists 20 of the craziest things that the U.S. government is spending money on. Here is just a sampling:

#1 A total of $3 million has been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft. The goal of this “video game research” is reportedly to study how “emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.”

#6 The National Institutes of Health spent approximately $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

#7 Approximately $1 million of U.S. taxpayer money was used to create poetry for the Little Rock, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago zoos. The goal of the “poetry” is to help raise awareness on environmental issues.

#16 A professor at Dartmouth University received $137,530 to create a “recession-themed” video game entitled “Layoff”.

#20 Almost unbelievably, the National Institutes of Health was given $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.

I think it is fairly obvious that our tax system is broken and in desperate need of repair.

But whenever somebody like me suggests that the tax burden should be reduced and that the tax system should be simplified, the most common (and idiotic) retort is, “But who will build the roads???”

First of all, this retort reveals a total lack of understanding of where and how federal tax dollars are spent. To the point, just 3% of the U.S. federal budget is spent on “transportation infrastructure.”

Secondly, this retort reveals a total lack of creativity as well — as if roads could not be built without a government to orchestrate it all!

Anyway, as you file your taxes, just think…

Your tax money could be paying for a NIH researcher to study male prostitutes in Vietnam… or a group of researchers to play World of Warcraft… or some hack poets to write sappy poems about zoo animals.

Aren’t you glad you get to do productive work 40+ hours a week to pay for all these “necessities?” How could our society possibly get along without them?

Happy April 15th.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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