The point has been made ad infinitum that taxes will go up this coming year. But before the government comes slouching into the living room with its hands in its pockets asking for another advance in its allowance, you might want to ask “What did you do with the money I gave you?”
Taxation for Tourist Traps
When I was a kid, we would periodically go on trips around Ohio or adjacent states. Unfortunately I never did see Rock City. Often it would be something educational such as a historic fort or village of some kind. We would wander around log cabins, looking at beds made out logs, spinning wheels, rusty farm implements and maybe if I was lucky there might be an old rifle on display.
These places all smelled and looked the same and had the same merchandise in every one of their gift shops: imitation Davy Crockett hats, cap-gun flintlocks and glass jars of hard candy. Now I love history, but let’s be realistic, if you’ve seen one reconstructed log cabin, you’ve pretty much seen ‘em all.
But then there are plenty of other historic sites out there for which you footed the bill. In 2011 $5.1 million went overseas to preserve historic sites. You spent $700,000 in tax dollars to preserve the ancient city of Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania. I have to admit I would love to see their gift shop. They probably don’t sell Davy Crockett hats there, since in the Middle Ages the town was occupied by sultans who controlled the trade on the African coast. Maybe they have glass jars full of imitation opium for sale.
You also coughed up $600,000 to preserve the Temple of the Winged Lions in Petra, not to mention $100,000 to restore a 19th century railroad station in Paraguay. Then there was the $450,000 you sent to Cambodia to preserve the Temple of Phnom Bakheng.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve walked through Angkor Wat, and ancient Cambodian temples are cool places, but chances are most of you won’t visit the Temple of Phnom Bakheng. I spent two weeks on a church mission in Cambodia and nobody even mentioned the Temple of Phnom Bakheng.
The U.S. also seems concerned about log cabins in Russia, since $100,000 in taxpayer money went there to preserve a 19th Century Log House Museum. Even though it is in northern part of the country, I am sure that scores of Russian dads pile their families into Country Squire station wagons for educational family treks every summer.
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