Tax season is here. Fortunately, your hard work allows the government to use your taxes for civic projects, health research and other key investments into mankind. Some government expenditures, however, are downright questionable.
Click through and see where your tax dollars are going.
True or False: Your Taxes Were Used to Put Fish on Treadmills
True. In 2017, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona released a list of the most outlandish tax splurges he could find. One involved the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, which used a $560,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to force fish to exercise to exhaustion on treadmills. The scientists chose mudskippers because of their unique ability to use fins like legs for extended periods of time when out of the water.
The exhausted fish were then given 48 hours to rest before hitting the gym again. Different oxygen levels were used as variables to test their progress and recovery.
Click over to see some other see some other government loopholes.
True or False: Your Taxes Proved That Gingerbread Houses Are Earthquake-Proof
True. A $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services funded a workshop called “How Does the Cookie Crumble?” The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry took gingerbread houses designed to be earthquake-resistant and put them to the test on machines that replicated major temblors. Participants got to take their sweet, sugary houses with them.
True or False: Your Taxes Turned Computers Into Couch Potatoes
False. Well, sort of false. The computers technically didn’t leave the experiment any different than they arrived. But your tax dollars did pay for computers to binge-watch hundreds of hours of television as if you weren’t already burning through your paycheck on subscription services.
The program — which was funded by a $460,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and other funds from the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research — was designed to train computers to both understand and predict human behavior. The results were inconclusive. But the good news is that the computers are all caught up on their favorite shows.
True or False: Your Taxes Paid Scientists to Play With Dolls
False. To be fair, the scientists weren’t just playing with dolls. Researchers at the National Eye Institute and National Science Foundation did, however, conduct a $300,000 study to answer the age-old question, “Do boys or girls spend more time playing with Barbie dolls?”
The answer is that women reported playing with Barbies when they were children far more often than men reported doing so as boys. Since Barbies are made with different faces, scientists thought that women might have a gender-based advantage when it comes to memorizing how faces look. It turns out that they likely do not.
Read This: 7 Paycheck Rules to Live By
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Proved That Frat Brothers Like to Party
True. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism used a $5 million grant to fund a study at the National Institutes of Health on the reveling habits of college students. The study revealed what anyone who went to college could tell you for free: Members of fraternities and sororities drink more on average than the larger university population. This is especially true on days of big sporting events.
Oh, and members of fraternities and sororities tend to sleep in later, too. Seriously — knowing that so much money is spent to uncover such obvious information is sure to make you cringe when you learn just how much you pay in taxes.
True or False: Your Taxes Paid NASA to Teach Religion to Aliens
False. However, your tax dollars did help NASA examine how the world’s religions might react when we make contact with E.T. The Center of Theological Inquiry used a $1.1 million grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute to study potential reactions by religious leaders and populations to the hypothetical future discovery of life beyond Earth — and how it could influence their beliefs about the origins and meaning of life.
True or False: NASA Used Your Tax Dollars to Get Drunk
False. NASA did, however, participate in an $88,000 study that examined the effect of global warming on wine in France. Some of the best vintages in history have come out of France in recent years and scientists believe there is a connection between increased temperatures and more robust, flavorful wines. The study combined modern data gathered by satellite imagery with historical data like records kept by French monks who controlled vast vineyards near monasteries dating back to 1300.
True or False: Your Taxes Proved That Fear of Pain Is Why You’re Afraid of the Dentist
True. A $3.5 million study launched by the National Institutes of Health examined why half of Americans report being afraid of the dentist, with as many as 20 percent reaching the level of a serious phobia. If you guessed that it might have something to do with the use of a drill to bore into bones embedded in your skull, you are correct. The most commonly cited source of dental anxiety is fear of pain. In other news, root canals are still more popular than Congress.
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Pay for Shady Doctors to Stay in Business
True. Through the Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP programs, the federal government paid $3 million to medical “professionals” who had been banned from public healthcare programs, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Some of these people committed fraud. Others performed unnecessary procedures to pad their invoices. At least 100 doctors were supposed to be removed for reasons relating to criminal charges, but instead they kept practicing — and collecting your tax dollars.
Keep Guessing: Why Can’t Americans Save More Money?
True or False: Your Taxes Pay to Make Monkeys Drool
False. But an experiment conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo, which was funded by a $817,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, did take a close look at primate saliva. The study compared human drool to that of a wide variety of apes, monkeys and their relatives in hopes of identifying when human saliva evolved into its current form.
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Have Expensive Tastes in Food
True. You probably can’t afford the truffles and caviar they serve at five-star restaurants — but you’re paying for them anyway. The USDA used $34,210 in taxpayer money to conduct “feasibility studies” on producing pricey truffles in the U.S., which has so far been an elusive task. Nearly $52,000 was spent on studying the feasibility of “value-added fish products,” including herring caviar.
True or False: Your Taxes Bought Robot Flowers
True. The National Institutes of Health spent $1.3 million on flobots, which are, as the name implies, robotic flowers. Flobots use a sugar solution that mimics nectar, which is used to entice bees. Researchers use flobots to study the behavior of bees, which they say interact with flobots in a fashion similar to how they interact with real flowers.
True or False: Your Taxes Make Dinosaurs Sing
False. But the National Science Foundation did conduct a $450,000 study to determine whether or not dinosaurs could chirp and sing like birds, which are their closest living relatives. The study concluded that, despite what you might have learned from “Barney,” dinosaurs did not have the vocal structure required to sing.
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Turn the World Into a Giant Network of U.S. Bases
True. According to CNBC, the U.S. spends around $156 billion a year to maintain 800 military bases in 80 countries. Many, of course, are necessary and relevant. But many others — like the 174 bases in Germany, 113 in Japan and 83 in South Korea — are post-World War II, Cold War relics that cost the U.S. money in a couple of ways: to maintain the bases, and to pay the host countries for the privilege of keeping them there. Virtually all military experts agree there’s a huge glut of these bases and, in some cases, the bases hurt American interests more than help them.
True or False: Tens of Millions of Dollars Disappear Into a Defense Spending Abyss of Waste
False. It’s actually hundreds of millions of dollars. A gargantuan, 25,000-employee Pentagon agency that Politico nicknamed the “Walmart of the military” processes more than 100,000 military orders a day. An outside audit recently revealed $465 million in misstatements in the agency’s books and insufficient documentation — or none at all — for another $384 million…and that’s just one agency.
True or False: Taxpayers Spend Billions to Subsidize Massive Agricultural Corporations
True. Agricultural subsidies were designed to support farmers during a time when vast numbers of Americans worked in agriculture, particularly during and after the Dust Bowl era and Great Depression. Today, however, the number of farmers has dropped significantly. But the agriculture lobby is as big as ever and the federal government doles out tens of millions of tax dollars — the vast majority of which go to the biggest companies — for marketing, insurance, research and simply to overproduce.
True or False: You Pay More in Taxes So You Can Pay More For Sugar
True. Like agricultural subsidies, America’s sugar subsidy program is outdated, expensive and often counterproductive. Without it, America could save an estimated $6 billion in five years. The sugar subsidy program is used to set price minimums and artificially inflate sugar prices not just in the United States, but worldwide.
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Buy Cars That No One Uses
True. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office revealed that no one knows for sure whether many of the 64,500 vehicles recently purchased by five major government agencies were ever actually used. The office examined four years worth of federal vehicle purchases, which averaged $25,600 each, and found that many vehicles were either never used or that the agencies audited simply didn’t know whether the cars and trucks were utilized or not.
True or False: Your Tax Dollars Put Up Chimps in Hotels
False — but you do pay for room and board for chimpanzees. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) once used chimps in biomedical research projects but eventually stopped the practice. The 139 chimps that were liberated from the NIH’s experiments have been retired to the National Center for Chimpanzee Care. About $18,700 is spent per chimp per year for food, shelter and other costs — that’s enough to put each chimp through college every single year.
True or False: Tax Dollars Are Spent So Kids Can Watch Golf Tournaments
False. However, $2 million in tax dollars did go to the First Tee program, which uses golf to teach life lessons to kids while exposing them to the sport. There are chapters all over the country, and your tax dollars help kids learn everything from how to use putters and drivers to the importance of sportsmanship, courtesy, honesty and integrity.
Keep reading about shocking American taxes.