Tempest in a Teapot?: Tracking Our Tax Dollars

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I’m a big fan of tea; I like it iced or hot, sweetened or not. I have a couple teapots that I truly cherish, and I even splurged on a teapot calendar to hang in my kitchen this year. I also love and appreciate (if I don’t always fully understand) art. So I’m not being a barbarian when I say that I was pretty aggravated to learn about the $500,000 of tax payer’s money going to partially fund a teapot museum. Now, I must say that the Sparta Teapot Museum looks like a lovely place, and I’m sure that I’ll add that to my list of places to visit sometime. Right after that giant ball of tinfoil out in the Midwest somewhere. Oh, Christ, did we pay for that, too?

Now we’ve all heard about the $500.00 toilet seats and the $900.00 hammers that the government likes to buy (why they can’t shop at Walmart, I’ll never know, or if you’re opposed to the Walmart demon, even the corner mom and pop has some lovely hammers in the $5.00 to $10.00 range), but this is something new and different. Our taxes are going to fund all sorts of useful things like teapot museums in Sparta, Somewhere. The good news is that next year Congress will open a website that will show all of us exactly where tax dollars are going. Won’t that be nifty? I think it’s a fine idea, and I’m sure I’ll be browsing the site a lot: it’ll make us laugh, cry, scream and be just as good as any summer movie.

Maybe we can even . . . oh, I don’t know, hold Washington accountable for a change? How is it that we can’t get decent, affordable prescription drugs, but we can spend almost half a million dollars on some shrubs by the Capitol building? Now, I know half a million dollars just isn’t what it used to be, but my guess is that there may be some other expenditures that could be filtered into something truly useful. Like health care. Like Social Security (in some form). Like the military–don’t they need equipment? You know, the kind of jeeps that have armor on them? Or that our guys don’t have to weld metal trash can lids to in order to protect themselves? Or we could at least send them better trash can lids, no? A nice blow torch? What about our school system? Maybe we could buy some books and supplies, so the parents aren’t increasingly having to cover the burden initially promised by a public school system (while, of course, their taxes keep going up).

Personally, I don’t mind paying taxes. I really don’t. And I look at some countries overseas that have higher tax rates than we do, and I wonder if we couldn’t have nationalized health care or some of those other things taxes can go to that make countries better places to live. And don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else; I’m rather fond of my country, love it, actually. And I wouldn’t mind paying for a teapot museum if we already had a decent education system, a workable health care system, and a well-supplied and well-trained military. Then I guess, it’d be okay, if we had the extra money lying around. But even in our household budgets we don’t pay for vacations or luxuries before we’ve paid the mortgage and bought food. It just makes no sense to me. Really. None.

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Okay, I confess, this vid has NOTHING to do with the above (unless there’s a shoe museum in the offing), but I had to post it for Snuggles and Mitch; it’s the U. S. version of Paolo Nutini’s “New Shoes” (didn’t know if you’d seen it, and think I prefer the U. K. version, but see for yourselves):

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24 thoughts on “Tempest in a Teapot?: Tracking Our Tax Dollars

  1. Wow, I can’t believe I will be in the top ten comments this morning! Early bird gets the worm. I agree totally with you and even go further…I don’t think we should be funding collections and that’s what they are. We can’t have a museum for every single item that is made. That is not to say that I don’t believe in supporting our museums…I just don’t believe a lot of the projects we pay for are necessary just as your wrote above. By the way…did you see where the man and 4 kids were found dead up your way…tell me dear Fuzzy, how does a couple working little more than minimum wage jobs afford a $195,000 house? I think someone popped from the stress, trying to portray a lifestyle that can’t keep up, just like our government.

  2. Top ten, Priceless? You made ftc!! Yay you!! Gosh, hadn’t heard about the mass murder thing … I’ll go google it. But actually, that’s CHEAP for a house up here, I’m afraid. I have no idea how anyone can afford a decent home here; it’s insane what homes cost. And yes, you make a good point, I mean I’m sure that teapot enthusiasts might argue that teapots are . . . oh, I don’t know something historically or politically or culturally relevant, but really! So are old toenail clipping devices and corkscrews. Do we need museums for those? And if we do, do we really need to pay them out of our taxes? Sigh. (and nice tie in back to the gov’t from the blood bath story! extra points for you. :)) Huggs to you, Priceless Pris.

  3. Grrrrr….don’t get me started on crazy government spending. They need to hire a thrify person like me to do their purchasing! Hmmm, not a bad idea, lemme type up my resume right after visiting and commenting on people’s blogs ;p. Soo, where the heck is Sparta anyway?? But, that ball of tinfoil kinda sounds interesting…great picture for a blog dontcha think? And who doesn’t feel good with a pair of new shoes?? I was actually thinking of a topic for my Sunday quickie blog. I was gonna comment on my fave shoes..a different one each week…lol. To go along with Saturday’s blog…shirts. So my weekends could be tops and toes, or shirts and shoes. Hahah…ok, I’m rambling….I’ll stop. I enjoyed your blog! (ohh..and i’ll be lazy and comment on the previous one here….margaritas….yummmy! I bet that was a hoot meeting a fellow 360er for the first time!)

  4. When you started with tea, I thought you have reformed from Margaritias and want to mend you ways, i doubt so.:) “I wouldn’t mind paying for a teapot museum if we already had a decent education system, a workable health care system, and a well-supplied and well-trained military.” I totally agree, it is unimaginable where the taxes are going and the rich is not paying and all the hard earned money going to waste is horrible. Even these musuems someone is profiting. But we keep electing the same dummies again and again.

  5. Poor Fuzzy – you are going to think that I never have a definite opinion about anything…because I’m conflicted on this as well. Because I live near DC I get the benefit of visiting many marvelous museums that were all built and are still funded on your dime….and I thank you for giving me that opportunity. I completely agree that there is a lot of “pork” in government spending….they act much like the average American does in that they spend money until they run out….at which time they either raise taxes or borrow to become flush again. I’m pretty frugal – but I’ll admit to having made many purchases that in retrospect were not wise buying decisions. The only way to stop it is to insist that Congress look at the situation from a national rather than a local level (and I say that because I imagine half a million dollars going to Sparta is going to boost their economy with at least a few new museum related jobs and perhaps some tourism….I actually know people who collect antique china and I guess this is an extension of that). So our “pork” is probably Sparta’s “attaboy – good job Congressman whoever). And as for the 900 dollar hammers – I don’t know if you’ve ever had the head fly off a Walmart special hammer…but thats not something that you want to have happen when you are making repairs to a multimillion dollar tank or aircraft – because repairing the damage caused will cost a LOT more than 880.00. The media generally leaves out the “intended use” when they compare costs….and that’s an important part of the equation. (that’s the contracting officer in me coming out)

  6. II cannot beleive we paid $500,000 for a teapot meusum. I get so disgusted when i find out how much we spend on silly stuff. I could understand meuseums of more general things, but a freaking teapot meuseum. I know we are still funding 500.00 hammers and the like. I dont think we will ever get away from those. too bad. Can anyone explain why we pay so much for government toilet seats, hammers coffee pots ands things we pay rationaly prises for. OK, ther is a question for you fuzz, go find out why ther stuff cost so much more than the same things we would purchase at home depot or lowes.

  7. sounds like money well invested, you will never be short of having a drink at this place. Shame they didnt incorporate a coffee pot one as well. Although those large mints that look like toilet seats dont do anything for me, suppose its a matter of taste.

  8. lmao, Ang, yeah, no idea where Sparta is. Somewhere, though. I’m sure it’ll be a tourist hotspot in no time, raking in the big teapot tourist dollar. Oooh, love the shoe idea . . . do it, do it!! I may, too, because I’m a big copycat and can’t hold an original thought (um, not). BUT I do love shoes. Yay shoes!! Can’t wait for your shoe thing to happen. Is it Sunday yet? :))

    Thank you, Chris, and yes, I know what you mean about constantly reelecting the same people who do these things. Sigh. Thanks for your fab comments. Huggs :))

    Well, Em, I think there’s a pretty significant difference between a teapot museum in Nowhereville, USA and the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall. These are clearly NATIONAL musums and contain some wonderful treasures of our collective history as a nation. In fact, I do believe that they HAVE teapots in one of those museums! And whole sets of china, if memory serves from my many visits there over the years. Maybe your friends could make do with the National museums until we have extra cash? Or are you suggesting that everyone have a wonderful set of museums in their backyard as you do? And at our expense? No, no way would you say THAT! :)) Considering my skill with DIY, I’m just as likely to bang my own body parts with a hammer that is fully functional as with one that has its bits flying off. But I can safely say that I think that the nation’s construction crews and builders are NOT paying $900.00 per hammer and seem to be in the red (and that’s not blood I’m talking about, teehee). Thanks for your input, and I’m like Lisa, I would really like to hear about these expenses in more detail and from someone like you, who works in the field AND can string together an interesting and informative blog!! Take care. :))

    Oh, that’s not my blog post, Lise, but maybe Em will do it? I sort of liked the explanation in Independence Day, that all the excess was funding top secret government projects dealing with space aliens. Oooooh. Ahhhhh. Huggs TME :))

    Oh, Pilgrim, I feel so cheated that I’ve not had a toilet seat mint. What a bummer. Bahaha. I like coffee pots, too, just as much . . . no, actually MORE than teapots, but . . . not supporting a coffee pot museum, either. Now maybe an interesting shaped mint museum . . . .

  9. Personally I’d much rather fund teapots than a well-equipped military. Maybe that’s because I’m British and a good cup of tea is always far more important to our war efforts than equipment that actually works.

  10. How fun to find you spouting off about a teapot museum! (pun intended. *giggles*)

    If it weren’t for you, I’d have no idea what was happening in the world. Good thing you’re here to rally us all into appropriate social action. I just have to agree with you here: “I wouldn’t mind paying for a teapot museum if we already had a decent education system, a workable health care system, and a well-supplied and well-trained military.” I couldn’t say it better!

  11. lmao, Jon! Does tea come before education and healthcare? Or (and here’s another poke the Englishman with a stick question) is your healthcare system over there the dream a lot of us think it is but can’t believe really? Just curious. Love your comment though, light way to make a heavy point. :))

    eh, Heyman?

    Teehe, Jillene, love your punniness! :)) Yeah, it’s a priorities thing, as I say initially, I have no problem with teapot museums, some citizens like those, but I guess all citizens need decent education, health care, and security. Huggs, you. And look, only four more days!! Woohooo!!

  12. i don’t even know where to begin with this. i’m constantly amazed with the things our taxes go to fund. and i wonder, after this website goes up to tell us where our tax dollars go, how much outrage there will be about things like this teapot museum. and it all brings me around to vulture funds, and how people don’t seem to be that upset that their tax money that went to help aid countries like zambia, are now going into the pocket of private businesses like donegal intl. rather than to who it was intended for, namely the people of zambia. but maybe that’s just me.

  13. Money is an easy thing to waste when you’ve got it. :p It’s sad that it’s easy for some people to waste the money many people slave to make.

    As for tea, I love it as well! Green tea is just lovely 🙂

  14. Our congress should pay better attention to where it spends our money. You’re right about that. I hope this new web site helps with accountability.

    On the other hand, almost everything that anyone would be pro-spending on, there’ll be someone anti-spending. I guess that’s what democracy (and armchair quarterbacking) are all about.

  15. Ok you can have all the education in the world. But if you do not have common sense your education is useless. It always amazes me that our government can waste soooo much money. I would love to take a bite out of their budget. It is time to decide what is important and what can be cut. Yes and start bargain shopping. What they spend on stupid things could fund a health care system for everyone.

  16. Yay Kerry! That’s exactly where my mind went, too, to vulture funds. Amazing, isn’t it. Huggs to you!! :))

    Yep, I know what you mean, Ceres! Thanks :))

    And Sean, how true that is; even on education, there are people who don’t want to pay. Imagine! Teapot museums, I understand, being anti-spending, even pro-spending, but I don’t get how someone can be against investing in education. Or healthcare. It really blows my mind. Thanks for your comments! :))

    You are SO right, Bert, and once again put it so much more clearly than I did: “What they spend on stupid things would fund a health care system for everyone” Just what I was struggling to say! Warm huggs to you from FINALLY sunny Massachusetts; hope you’re enjoying some sun and warmth up your way, too. :))

  17. Oh, a government that spends tax money on stupid things? How novel!! NOT!! If it’s any consolation (and I know it probably isn’t), the UK government are just as adept at spending rather large sums on totally useless things (the infamous ‘Millenium Dome’ in London springs to mind), while not providing adequate funding for ‘proper’ things such as Education or Health services.

  18. Oh, yeah….nearly forgot!! I did see the US version on YT when I found the UK version. I think the UK version is better, too.

  19. ooooh, GG, I love the shoe museum!! And it’s privately funded? Even better (though honestly, a shoe museum is SO much more appealing than a teapot museum!) Huggs funny Gal, xx :))

    Teehee, Mitch, yeah, I didn’t really get that Millenium Dome thing, either; isn’t that the giant metal ferris wheel right down from London Bridge? Shaking head. But yeah, we’ve got crazy stuff here, too. Alas. Yeah, the UK version just feels more “real” somehow, if you know what I mean? And lol, yes, I know you hate tea; have you begun drinking real coffee, yet, though? That’s the real question; instant is really horrid. You’re nice, though. :))

  20. Arh thanks for the song Fuzzy, its great to hear it again but I like videos to have a story to them and this video doens’t seem to so think I have to say that I like the UK version best, but thanks for posting it. Big big hugs to you. x

  21. Yeah, I think I like the campy-ness of the UK version; it’s just more FUN!! :)) Of course, I usually end up liking the thing I saw, heard, read first best. Isn’t that weird? Anyway, big big hugs right back to you!! And a tickle for Marm, too. xx

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