Public relations. The federal government doesn't have to sell anything to survive, but rather lives off money appropriated whether the poor folk paying for it want to or not. You might think such an entity doesn't feel the need to spend much on public relations. You would be wrong. It takes 414,258 poor folk with taxable income of $10,000 to pay for the recent average of $430 million a year spent on public relations employees of the federal government, according to a 2016 GAO report.

Fighter planes that the F-35 is supposed to replace. Remember that F-35 that costs $164.6 million per jet? While we're waiting for that decades-long program to come to complete fruition, the Center Against Government Waste points out, we are also spending—in fiscal year 2017 alone—$1.02 billion

for four earmarks funding two planes intended to be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): $979 million for 12 additional F/A-18 E/F Hornets for the Navy; $24.8 million for F-16 mission training center simulators; $12 million for a missile warning system for the F-16; and $5 million for anti-jamming GPS for the F-16. The Air Force declared its variant of the JSF to be combat ready in August 2016, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract. However, a report released in the same month by former DOD Operational Test and Evaluation Director Michael Gilmore found that, "achieving full combat capability with the Joint Strike Fighter is at substantial risk" of not occurring prior to the end of development. The report described the JSF as "… not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver."

If your taxable income is just a nose under the maximum for the tax table, $99,950, 48,629 people just like you are paying around one-fifth of that income every year, your total federal income tax burden, just to keep these planned-to-be-obsolete jets in the air.

San Diego's trolley. What's even more expensive than a notorious Pentagon boondoggle? It's easy for most Americans to be unaware that federal aid for local transportation boondoggles even exists, even (or perhaps especially) if you are one of the many locals who will never use the subsidized transportation. Consider, then, the $1.04 billion that the Department of Transportation has earmarked for extending a San Diego trolley system by 10 miles. That hasn't all been spent yet, but if the department stays the course let's think of how that will add up for San Diegans with taxable incomes of $33,000, whether or not they ever ride the trolley: 223,707 of them just spent their whole tax bills on it.

(A hat tip on guidance to some of these expenditures to Sen. Lankford's Federal Fumbles and to the Center Against Government Waste's Congressional Pig Book.)