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IRS Spent $60,000 Producing Star Trek Parody 280

An anonymous reader writes According to the AP, the IRS is being "scolded for spending $60,000 dollars on an elaborate parody video that played at a 2010 conference. 'The video features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show. IRS workers portray the characters, including one who plays Mr. Spock, complete with fake hair and pointed ears. The production value is high even though the acting is what one might expect from a bunch of tax collectors. In the video, the spaceship is approaching the planet 'Notax,' where alien identity theft appears to be a problem.' You can find the hilarious and/or nausea-inducing video on YouTube."
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IRS Spent $60,000 Producing Star Trek Parody

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  • Our Tax Dollars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:37PM (#43258681)

    Well, this is better than some of the things our government spends our tax dollars on...

  • Wrong... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:41PM (#43258725) Homepage

    They spent all that money, and they still couldn't get the right uniforms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:49PM (#43258781)

    The IRS decided to produce videos in house instead of spending more money to hire outside contractors. Before they could start producing actual videos for use in training, public information, etc., they had to get up to speed with using their new video production facility. They had to make some dummy video during that checkout/internal training phase, so they chose to make parodies of Star Trek and Gilligan's Island. Big deal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:00PM (#43258877)

    My girlfriend works at a library. A patron throw a hissy fit the other day because she thought they had used way to much salt on the sidewalk (this is snow country) and threatened to call the Mayor.

    It costs about $1500 per day to run that library branch. Yet people freak out because they might use $1 more salt than necessary once a month to keep the City from being sued by somebody slipping and falling. This is how people think.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:21PM (#43259025)

    Additionally as regards this: "The video features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show."

    Except it's pretty obviously green screen.

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:22PM (#43259031)

    Assuming you have an unlimited amount of time, yes.

    But in reality, making mountains out of molehills is a clever form of filibuster. It gives you a "tough" image even while you distract debate from the real mountains.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:30PM (#43259079)

    The US govt budget in 2012 is, roughly, 3.5 trillion dollars
    That is 3.5 e12
    And congress upset about 6e4 ???

    simple math: assume there are 200 working days per year.
    IF congress investigated the ever popular waste fraud and abuse every single day, how much would they have to save each day, to equal 1% of the budget ?

    well, the answer is
    step one 3.5e12/100 = 3.5e10
    step two 3.5e10/200 = 1.75e8

    That is, if congress found *one hundred and seventy five million dollars of waste, EVRY SINGLE DAY, it would be 1% of the us budget.

    tell me again why we are even thinking about 60K ???????

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:32PM (#43259091)

    Don't pay attention to that. Pay attention to the practice productions of their new in house training video program that will hopefully end up saving money instead of contracting it out.

  • Re:Our Tax Dollars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TemperedAlchemist ( 2045966 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:50PM (#43259181)

    The IRS doesn't levy taxes. Congress does.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:59PM (#43259225)
    The IRS employees almost 100,000 people. That works out to about .65 cents per employee. Not very much for a training budget. Nice troll from the subby though.
  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @05:05PM (#43259251)

    Sorry, 60K really is a tiny amount of money for a government agency. Maybe the video was a bad idea. Maybe it was a morale booster. Maybe it distracted thousands of employees from their miserable pay checks. I don't care. The money wastage in the government is the multi-billion dollar unnecessary, or overdone projects (TSA, F35, etc), not a few tens of K spent here and there on entertainment for thousands of people.

      If your income is low, then you are right, the $2 coffees add up. If you are making payments on a $20M house, and traveling by biz-jet, then coffee is not the place to try to save money.

    Companies often spend money to entertain or motivate their employees. They do this because sometimes the morale boost is worth far more than what it costs.

  • by Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @05:13PM (#43259289) Homepage

    It's all about the mindset. When you think of it as play money instead of money that people have sweated to earn and might otherwise be used for medical procedures, safer environments for children or otherwise improving quality of life, you get this kind of thing happening and it's symptomatic of a much bigger problem.

  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @07:10PM (#43259961) Homepage Journal

    Did I say that?

    The point is that said voters want to be told that OMG GUMMINT WASTED TONS OF MONEY ON BUILDING A STAR TREK BRIDGE FOR NO REASON, because it makes them feel better about their irrational hatred of the government, truth be damned.

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @07:19PM (#43260005) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that every time someone complains about the size of the federal government, people feel like listing a bunch of things that are done by state and local governments as an example of why government is great?


    You may not like the police but would you prefer Blackwater hiring out as private security?

    My neighborhood - and this is a normal, non-gated, houses $150-$200k neighborhood - has a private security force that patrols part time, because the police won't do their job. It is far from the only one like it.

    No public education for the poor?

    Setting aside the larger question of whether or not they actually educate those poor people, are publicly owned and operated schools staffed with government employees the only way we can think of to provide education to the general public? All my education tax money goes down the drain - my city's schools are unusably bad; I never spent a day in them, and neither will my children. My wife did work in the administration of the local school system before we married, and it firmly convinced her that the entire operation was a complete waste.

    Private roads closed to non-members?

    You mean like the NY, NJ, PA, OH, IN, and IL turnpike systems? The Dulles toll road? There are plenty of roads you have to pay to use, and yes, they were often privately owned and maintained in the early days of the country.

    No water systems?

    I guess you've never seen rural areas where water is in fact often supplied by a cooperative owned by the people who receive it? Even here in a city, where the incredibly disruptive nature of water and sewer services mean that they're always going to be provided by government (too hard to get permission to tear up all the streets otherwise), we pay for our water just like we pay for natural gas or electricity - fee for service.

    I'm not an anarchist, but acknowledging that we have to have some government is not carte blanche for said government to waste other people's money, and if you sometimes sound like the crazy old guy complaining over the cost of paperclips used by the city, that doesn't mean it's always a bad idea.

  • by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @07:35PM (#43260113)

    According to TFA, 1) Congress complained about the video and 2) the IRS admitted it was a mistake to make the video. If they just needed to produce a dummy video, and the Star Trek theme involved spending no money over what they would have spent anyway, why would they then announce that "There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources"?

    (Moreover, according to TFA, Congress did determine that the Gilligan's Island one was legitimate, so it's not as if they were doing a witchhunt and would refuse to accept any video with a TV show theme. If this video too was legitimate the IRS should have had no problems explaining it away. Obviously they couldn't.)

    Looks like the Republicans are right, after all.

  • by isorox ( 205688 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @08:48PM (#43260457) Homepage Journal

    For instance the 2009 Iraq war spending ($95.5B) was about $1.13 per tax paying household. On the other hand, the 2010 $521 billion cost of Medicare was funded by grabbing $6167.43 on average from each tax paying household.

    Score -1 Major math fail.

    95 billion is about 1/6th of 520 billion. Therefore Iraq costs 1/6th the Medicare budget based on your figures.

    Your figures say that there are about 90 billion households in the u.s. based on your iraq figures of 95 billion / $1.1

    I guess you have deliberately confused millions with billions to try to make a political point. Your figures should probably say iraq cost $1100 per household in one year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:14AM (#43261367)

    So you use the 'for the children' argument? Fuck off.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato