A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 16, 2015
“Your tax dollars at work”

"Your tax dollars at work” is a popular sign at government construction projects. The saying is also used in irony, when tax money is being wasted. “You tax dollars at work” signs frequently appeared in the 1960s at highway construction projects. Later in the 1960s, the saying was used to criticize the money spent for the Vietnam War.

“Your tax dollars at work” signs have been recorded in print since at least 1962.


19 February 1962, The Messenger (Athens, OH), “Holl Names To Turnpike Association,” pg. 12, col. 7:
He will be in charge of distribution and placement of public information signs. ‘‘Your Tax Dollars at. Work” which will soon be appearing on all tax sponsored projects in the Logan area. It is intended that these signs earmark for the public all projects paid for by tax dollars.

5 April 1962, Bristol (PA) Daily Courier “Letters to the Editor,” pg. 6, col. 5:
Now there are two signs on Route 413 at the end of the Delaware Expressway, one which reads, “this is your tax dollars at work,’’ which I admit is very slow dollars, and the other sign, “Route 95 Interstate Highway System.”
(...)
Very Funny
Morrisville, Pa.

14 May 1962, Ledger-Star (Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA), “You Can See Government in Action,” pg. 17, col. 4:
See the Supreme Court Building, look at Congress, and see your tax dollars at work.

12 March 1965, Boston (MA) Herald, “Middle-Income Tax Cut a Myth” by George Minot, pg. 13, col. 1:
ON THE SAME SUBJECT, there’s a huge sign on the outskirts of Ypsilanti, Mich, reading: “ATTENTION: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING AN OFFICIAL POVERTY ZONE. BIG BROTHER AND YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.” The sign is in protest of the $188,252 grant Washington has provided for Williow Village, a community of 5,000 on the northeast edge of the city.

27 November 1966, Greensboro (NC) Daily News, “The Tax Dollars At Work: From Plank Roads To Superhighways” by Bonnie Jordan, pg. D1, col. 2:
Highway officials aren’t offering any apologies for the inconvenience of “tax dollars at work.”

30 December 1966, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “A Smile or Two,” pg. 16, col. 2:
Did you hear about the Medicare patient who had surgery—he woke up to find a placard on his incision” “This is a federal project showing your tax dollars at work”?—Clyde Moore in Columbus Dispatch.

OCLC WorldCat record
Your tax dollars at work : Dont pay war taxes
Author: Burton Levitsky; Lawrence Frank; War Tax Resistance (U.S.)
Publisher: New York (339 Lafayette St. N.Y. 10012 N.Y.) : War Tax Resistance, [1971?]
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Military Aid to El Salvador : Your Tax Dollars at Work.
Author: Proletarian Unity League.
Publisher: New York : United Labor Press, 1981.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Wasting America’s money : your tax dollars at work
Author: Wayne Gable; Gary Lushin; Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation.
Publisher: Falls Church, Va. : Potomac Pub. Co., 1990.
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed

OCLC WorldCat record
Your tax dollars at work : the Maine Job Service : are you getting your money’s worth?.
Author: Maine. Department of Labor.
Publisher: [Augusta, Me.] : [Me. Dept. of Labor], 1996.
Edition/Format: Print book : State or province government publication : English : “Rev. 11/96

OCLC WorldCat record
Your Tax Dollars at Work, Really: SIA’s recent government summit proved that your tax dollars aren’t actually going to waste
Author: M McCourt
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: SECURITY -DENVER CO THEN TROY MI- 47, no. 7, (2010): 12-12
Database: British Library Serials

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, September 16, 2015 • Permalink