Originally published March 26 2013
IRS used taxpayer money to film Star Trek parody; total detachment from reality
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Some members of Congress and President Obama are fond of blaming the decision to end tours of the People's House on the sequestration (which the president has further blamed on Republicans, even though the sequester was his idea).
That darned sequester has made it just impossible for him to come up with the $74,000 a week it takes to pay the Secret Service agents required to monitor the tours.
Now granted, the president could, if he wanted, curb his golf trips and vacations, each of which require hordes of Secret Service agents and other logistics at a cost millions of dollars - plenty of money to restart the tours. But if he isn't willing to make that sacrifice, Obama might at least consider directing the federal agencies he is responsible for as head of the Executive Branch to become better stewards of the taxpayer's money.
He can begin with the Internal Revenue Service; Congress has already stepped up.
From The Associated Press:
Nobody's going to win an Emmy for a parody of the TV show "Star Trek" filmed by Internal Revenue Service employees at an agency studio in Maryland.
Instead, the IRS got a rebuke from Congress for wasting taxpayer dollars.
The agency says the video, along with a training video that parodied the TV show "Gilligan's Island," cost about $60,000. The "Star Trek" video accounted for most of the money, the agency said.
Contrition - after being caught in the act
Now, before you moan, "My goodness, it's only $60,000!" understand that every single penny the government derives from the people deserves to be treated as a valued asset. Add to that the fact that the government is borrowing 47 cents out of every dollar it spends (because it is overspending), and you can easily see there simply is no room for waste.
Further, government employees have a moral obligation to spend the people's money wisely - a principle the tax agency appeared to remember after it was busted.
"The IRS recognizes and takes seriously our obligation to be good stewards of government resources and taxpayer dollars," the agency said in a statement, after being caught in the act. "There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources."
The IRS added that it has since tightened control over its studio, to "ensure that all IRS videos are handled in a judicious manner that makes wise use of taxpayer funds while ensuring a tone and theme appropriate for the nation's tax system."
The ridiculous video, which the AP said "features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show" and IRS workers as actors, came to light after a copy of it was requested by investigators for the House Ways and Means Committee, which is the oldest panel in Congress and is the chief tax-writing committee.
"There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous," said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-LA., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "The IRS admitted as much when it disclosed that it no longer produces such videos."
Nothing new to see here, sadly
The video is part of a pattern of waste, fraud and abuse that is rampant throughout the federal government.
According to the Citizens Against Government Waste, here is just a small summary of how much money the federal government wasted in 2012 alone:
-- $181 million for upgrade and manufacture of M1A1 Abrams tanks, though the Pentagon has said it doesn't need or want it (currently there are more than 2,000 M1A1's sitting idle in an Army depot in the California desert).
-- $120 million for the Navy to conduct alternative fuels research, though Congress earmarked $3.2 billion in FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for the Department of Energy for the same purpose.
-- $15.3 million for one of the infamous bridges to nowhere in Alaska.
-- $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.
-- $10 million for a remake of "Sesame Street" for Pakistan.
-- $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.
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