April 17, 2012

Happy Tax Day

Today is the day that taxes are due.  Hopefully everyone knows this because for the past three months, you have seen somebody, usually a man, dressed up in a cheap Statue of Liberty costume waving a sign inviting you to let them do your income taxes (for a small fee) every five miles.  If you live in a state where you DON'T see this, consider yourself lucky. All I know is that this tax preparation company is in both Arizona and Illinois.

It has been four weeks since we sent in all the correct paperwork to Illinois clarifying my husband's employment status three years ago, when he was laid off and NOT working.  We have yet to receive any acknowledgement from the Illinois Department of Incompetency Unemployment  Office regarding the status of our Federal Income Tax refund, which they confiscated in a misunderstanding initiated by my husband's former employer nearly three years ago.  I wonder if they moved and didn't leave a forwarding address?

Pardon the snark, but there have been several items in the news that make it clear American's trust in the government is horribly misplaced.  This is just a string in a long line of offences that seems to cross political parties.  The "Great Society Program" was supposed to eliminate poverty and it hasn't.  The Social Security program was supposed to take care of retirees and yet, it is facing bankruptcy, no matter how much politicians try to torture the numbers to make them say something different.  How many different laws have been passed since the Stock Market collapse of 1920 to prevent economic disasters and skulldudgery?  The problem with all of these programs is not that the idea is bad, but that they were developed and administered by imperfect human beings.  So I did a little research on the cabinet positions, when they were established, under what President, they were established and how much money they are asking from taxpayers for fiscal year 2013.

Year Est. as Cabinet Pos. President 2013 Requested Budget (in millions)
Dept. of Treasury* 1789 Washington $13
Dept. of Interior 1849 Polk, J. $174
Dept. of Commerce 1903 Roosevelt, T. $7,500
Dept. of Labor 1913 Wilson $17,000
Dept. of Energy 1977 Carter $27,000
Dept. of Justice* 1789 Washington $27,100
Dept. of Housing/Urban Dev. 1965 Johnson, L. $44,000
Secretary of State 1789 Washington $51,600
Dept of Homeland Security 2003 Bush, G.W. $59,000
Dept. of Education 1979 Carter $69,800
Dept. of Transportation 1966 Johnson, L. $74,000
Dept. of Veterans Affairs 1988 Reagan $140,300
Dept. of Ag. 1862 Cleveland $155,000
Dept. of Defense* 1947 Roosevelt, F. (1) $613,900
Dept. of Health & Human Serv. 1953 Eisenhower $940,000
Total Cabinet Level Expenses


To get this information, I merely googled "2013 Budget for the __________".  Some departments presented their information up front and then justified their existence, some spent pages upon pages justifying their existence before presenting their information.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development was the worst.  Here are just a few notes to explain data that may appear mystifying:
1.  The Department of Defense as it exists, was established in 1947 to combine the different branches of the armed forces.  George Washington had a Secretary of the War and John Adams added a Secretary of the Navy, since he had been in charge of developing the Navy during the Revolutionary War.
2.  Washington had an Attorney General, not a Department of Justice.
3.  The Department of Veterans Affairs became a cabinet position under Reagan, though something like it operated since 1811.
4.  Lincoln established the Department of Agriculture, but it didn't become a cabinet position until Grover Cleveland's presidency.
5. The Department of Health and Human Services has undergone many organizational changes.  It used to have the Department of Education under its wing until that Department became a separate entity under Carter's administration.  HHS has the FDA, the Welfare system, Medicare/Medicaid, Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, among other agencies.  This is why it's budget is bigger the the DoD.

This doesn't cover Presidential expenses or other expenses authorized by Congress.  That is another $1.5 Billion dollars.  So that is how part of your tax money is being spent.  Happy Tax Day!

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