Featured StoryHere's one of those you-can't-make-this-stuff-up kinds of stories. This tale goes to show how easily even the best intentions of big government can take an unexpected turn that goes insanely wrong and just ends up costing the taxpayers more money. It's Exhibit A for just how far out of control our government has become...
Will the Government Start Taking 401(k) Money?
With Washington battling over what to do about its $16.4 trillion debt pile, rumors are swirling that the government will start taking 401(k) money to cure its fiscal ills.
There's plenty to take.
A study published by the Investment Company Institute in 2012 stated that U.S. retirement assets at the mid-point of the year totaled somewhere in the neighborhood of $18.5 trillion.
If you look specifically at what most Americans take advantage of - IRAs and 401(k) plans - they have amassed $3.5 trillion and $5.1 trillion, respectively.
These large sums of untaxed money are proving to be very tempting to an administration looking for revenue to help rein in our whopping national debt.
"The government is spending money like a drunken sailor, and they need to get their meat hooks into any cash stock pile they can," Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald explained in the accompanying video on why the government could start taking 401(k) money.Read More...
Steak, Hamburger and Dog Food: How the Government Lies About the Real Inflation Rate
More experts are saying what most Americans have suspected for years - the real inflation rate is much higher than the government is willing to admit.
Officially, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the inflation rate, or Consumer Price Index (CPI), for 2011 was 3%.
But a report issued last week by the non-profit group American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) says the U.S. inflation rate for 2011 is far higher - 8%.
AIER used criteria based only on common daily expenditures to more accurately reflect how inflation affects consumers. Their index excluded less-frequently purchased items, like automobiles.
Economic consultant John Williams, an outspoken critic of the government's economic statistics, contends things are even worse.
Using the government's old methodology from 1980 - before politicians started to monkey with the formula - he calculates the real inflation rate is north of 10%.
That's more than triple the government's figure.
Among the few in government who see this as a problem is Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX.
"You know this argument that the prices are going up about 2%, nobody believes it," Paul bluntly told U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during a hearing last week. "People on fixed incomes - they're really hurting, the middle class is really hurting because their inflation rate is very much higher than the government tries to tell them and that's why they lose trust in government."
Changes to the Real Inflation RateOver the years, the government has made a series of adjustments to how it calculates the CPI, ostensibly to make it more accurate.
However, critics like Williams say the inflation rate formula has been changed to serve political ends.
Why Chimps Throw Poop… And 17 Other Examples of Government Waste
Never mind the $15 trillion national debt; the government blew $592,000 on a study last year to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop.
That's just one example of government waste described in a recent book by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. His "Wastebook 2011" features 100 examples of needless or ill-advised government spending.
It adds up to $6.9 billion that America can't afford. And while such waste is just a fraction of the federal government's $3.8 trillion budget, a country that needs to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spends should not be throwing money away on non-essential research.
Like why chimps throw poop.
Here are 17 other things the government wasted tax dollars on last year:
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