Take the US for example. US taxpayers have been scrutinising government waste much longer than we have, which may be one reason their taxes have remained around 30% of GDP while ours have pushed up to around 40%. But there's still plenty of waste going on.
The premier US government wastewatchers are Citizens Against Government Waste, and they have just published their sixteenth annual Pig Book. Its purpose is to expose Congressional pork-barrel spending, a notorious area of waste which they reckon amounts to $29bn this year alone.
CAGW say the identified 9,963 projects "symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork," and they comprise a salutory reminder of just what politicians will spend our money on, including:
- $13.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland, to help finance the World Toilet Summit
- $6.4 million for wood utilization research
- $1 million for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative
- $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina
- $450,000 for plantings on the eastern front of the Capitol. CAGW note "This will allow members of Congress a chance to “stop and smell the roses” before they proceed with plunging the country deeper into debt".
You can't help laughing.
Unless that is, you're the one paying the bill.
PS One thing is very clear. All around the world taxpayers are finally waking up to the reality that governments always waste huge amounts of our money. And they don't like it. Even in China (see this blog).