Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 95 134_WOTD_wk_95

December 9, 2022 12:50 PM



Why Illinois Is in Trouble – High Paid Public Employees Cost Taxpayers $17 Billion

December 5, 2022


There are 132,188 public employees and retirees in Illinois who earned $100,000 or more last year.

Auditors at found almost 500 educators in Illinois public schools had salaries between $200,000 and $439,000. Small-towns city managers made up to $341,300, and three doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago earned between $1 million and $2.1 million.

This is as crime increases, test scores drop among public school students, and inflation decimates private-sector paychecks. This doesn’t stop the Illinois public employee class from living the good life.

Well-paid barbers working for State Corrections trimmed off $104,000, janitors at the Chicago Transit Authority cleaned up with $143,634 paychecks, bus drivers in Chicago picked up $242,812 in pay, and suburban community college presidents made $418,677, we found from payroll data.

In 2021, 26,904 educators earned six-figure salaries, while 16,592 retirees pocketed $100,000 pensions. That’s as test scores dropped, with only 31 percent of studentsreading at grade level. There were 18 school superintendents who made $300,000, and another 18 retired school superintendents received $300,000 in retirement pensions.

Crime is out of control in Chicago not because police and fire employees are underpaid but because of political will. The Chicago police and fire departments paid 600 employees between $200,000 and $480,000 last year. There were 41 street light repair workers who made between $100,000 and $196,123, and 61 city sign painters, who made up to $145,341.

The boss at the city auto pound collected $124,783 in pay, while the janitors there made six-figures too, up to $125,783. In Chicago Public Schools, then-CEO Janice K. Jackson served until June 30, 2021, and made $361,762 — $298,923 in salary with $62,839 in benefits.

Her salary alone exceeded the pay of the U.S. Secretary of Education — $203,500.

The high pay wasn’t tied to student achievement, because student scores dropped. Just 26 percent of 11th-grade students perform at grade level in math and 70 percent of students could not read at grade level.

There are plenty more examples of the reckless use of taxpayer dollars with no consideration given to job performance.



Medicaid Overspending Costing Taxpayers $16B Monthly

December 6, 2022


Almost three years into the Covid-19 emergency and after President Joe Biden called the pandemic over, he plans to extend the federal public health emergency at least into the new year, leaving in place what was supposed to be a temporary Medicaid policy that is now costing taxpayers an estimated $16 billion a month.

The states lose a combined $1.6 billion a month, and the federal government pays another approximately $14 billion monthly on the new spending, The Wall Street Journal reported. That comes from keeping 21 million people on Medicaid even though they earn too much money, as Biden plans to keep them permanently on the program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to low-income people.

As the pandemic was hitting states in March 2020, Congress gave each extra Medicaid funding “with the condition that they maintain enrollment for everyone, even recipients who start making too much money to qualify,” The Journal’s editorial board said.

In August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a mandate to ensure “continuity of coverage for eligible beneficiaries,” but what it will actually do is make it more difficult for states to find ineligible recipients and remove them, The Journal argued.

The mandate, The Journal predicted, will probably be enacted before the Biden administration ends the public-health emergency.

“The timing is deliberate: The administration is trying to keep the maximum number of ineligible people on Medicaid — a sneaky step closer to socialized medicine or essentially Medicaid for All — even though that means doing massive damage to taxpayers.”


State Dept Paid $275K for Video Game to “Counter Disinformation”

December 7, 2022


The State Department spent $275,000 to develop a video game for people 15 and up to counter disinformation, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraging diplomatic and consular posts worldwide to promote it.

The video game, "Cat Park," was funded by the State Department's Global Engagement Center and the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands and released to coincide with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s — or UNESCO's —  Global Media and Information Literacy Week in October, Just The News reported.

“With the Internet, only two things are certain: the global appeal of cat videos and the pervasiveness of disinformation,” a leaked State Department memo states. “Cat Park inoculates players against real-world disinformation by showing how sensational headlines, memes, and manipulated media can be used to advance conspiracy theories and incite real-world violence.”

Besides engaging diplomatic and consular posts, the State Department hopes to get “Cat Park” — available in English, Dutch, French, and Russian – used in local schools, Just The News reported.

Diplomats are also expected to "organize special rollout events," the memo states, such as ambassadors playing the game "with a local popular influencer, academic, journalist or government official" or taking the game to cat cafes.

The State Department's Global Engagement Center will "socialize the game with game developers" and advertise the game through a marketing firm.

The game aspires to create a “psychological vaccination against fake news” in those surfing social media according to Foundation for Freedom Online,

The project is using taxpayer dollars to fund “behavioral modification propaganda games intended to make young people around the world view populist content online as being de facto “disinformation,” Foundation for Freedom said. “It is almost as if the government is using the video game of Cat Park to get young people to subliminally believe that opposing the government is only done by disinformation purveyors.”


Throwback Thursday: In 1985, Navy Spends Big on Custom Doormats

December 8, 2022


Throwback Thursday! 

In 1985, The U.S. Navy spent $792 – $2,193 in 2022 dollars — on a single designer doormat, buying an unknown amount of them, earning it a Golden Fleece award.

Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave awards to wasteful and nonsensical spending, eventually handing out 168 Golden Fleece Awards between 1975 and 1988.

“That’s right, $792 for a custom-made doormat so Navy personnel can walk on nothing but the best,” Proxmire said then. “Meanwhile, the poor taxpayer gets walked all over with this outrageous expense.”

The Rolls Royce of doormats, an 8x10 foot doormat with the Medical Command’s logo woven into it in metallic blue, white, yellow and turquoise, was added to the Navy Medical Command Southeast Region in Jacksonville, Florida.

“The poor taxpayer may wipe his shoes on a $3 doormat when he goes home, but not the Navy,” the senator said. “It’s damn the cost, full feet ahead on a doormat you’d be ashamed to get muddy.”

When he asked the Navy to justify the expense, Proxmire said the military branch said, “This purchase fills a legitimate command requirement.”

“I’d like to see how legitimate they’d think this purchase was if their commanders had to pay for it, instead of the poor taxpayer,” Proxmire said. “What’s more, the Navy said these designer doormats ‘are used by most major naval headquarters commands.’”

“The problem is the medical center’s designer doormat seems to be just the tip of the mat pile,” the senator quipped. “These fancy doormats seem to be lying around at military facilities everywhere.”

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at


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