News From Our Blog

How the Government Became “Uncle Sam”

The federal government is often referred to as, “Uncle Sam.” However, not many people know why, or from where this nickname stems.

During the War of 1812, a meat-packer from Troy, NY named Samuel Wilson supplied the U.S. Army with barrels of beef. Wilson was known around town as “Uncle Sam” and when he labeled the barrels with “U.S.” the soldiers assumed that’s what the initials stood for.  It actually meant “United States,” and the ideas combined where Uncle Sam stood for the United States of America. A newspaper picked up on the story, and as word traveled, the term “Uncle Sam” eventually became synonymous with the federal government.

Decades later, a political cartoonist popularized the image of Uncle Sam— with the white beard, stars and stripes suit, and top hat. The same cartoonist, Thomas Nast (who was German) also created the modern image of Santa Claus, as well as the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant.

During WWI, the Uncle Sam image was greatly popularized when it was used with the slogan “I want you for the U.S. Army” for recruitment purposes. With over four million copies printed, this effort has been called the “most famous poster in the world.” Uncle Sam was officially adopted as a national symbol of the U.S. in 1950.

Troy, NY now calls itself, “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

This @Kidsgov poster teaches kids the 3 branches of government & what they do. Download it for home or the classroom 

Looking for a Graduation Gift? Try a Government Car

Graduation season is well under way.  Are you looking for the perfect gift for your graduate?  Look no further than GSA Fleet Vehicle Sales.  Your graduate will love receiving a sedan, truck or SUV as a graduation gift.  GSA Fleet Vehicle Sales offers high quality used government owned vehicles for sale to the general public.  

The United States General Services Administration (GSA) buys new vehicles directly from the manufacturers and leases them to other federal agencies.  These vehicles are well maintained and are replaced on a regular schedule to ensure all vehicles are of high quality.  When eligible for replacement, they are sold at public auctions.

These vehicles have been used by government agencies for ordinary transportation purposes. None of the vehicles are military or repossessed vehicles.  

All auctions are open to the public so bring your graduate to a GSA Fleet vehicle sale to pick out the vehicle his or herself.  Each sale has plenty of popular makes and models to choose from.  

There is something for everyone including, sedans, pickup trucks, SUVs and even alternative-fuel vehicles. Current popular models include Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Liberty and Ram 1500.   

What better way to reward your graduate than with a vehicle to help them on their way to a bright future?  To find vehicles and sales in your area check us out online at www.autoauctions.gsa.gov.

Protect Yourself When Sending Money Abroad

If you’re thinking about sending money abroad to a family member or friend, make sure you are sending through a reputable source. How do you figure this out?

The federal government qualifies certain money transmitters, banks, credit unions and possibly other types of financial services companies qualify as “remittance transfer providers.”

Remittance transfer providers are businesses that transfer money electronically for consumers to people and businesses in foreign countries. Under federal law, you have certain protections that these business must comply with.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), they must share certain information with you before they make any transfers. This includes:

  • The exchange rate.

  • Fees and taxes they collect from you.

  • Fees charged by the company’s agents abroad and certain other institutions involved in the transfer process.

  • The amount of money expected to be delivered, not including foreign taxes or certain fees charged to the recipient.

  • If appropriate, a statement that additional foreign taxes and fees may be deducted from the remittance transfer.

Learn more about protecting your money from the CFPB.

Does the Federal Government Offer Car Grants?

No. The federal government offers grants and financial assistance in many areas, but will not give you money to buy a car.

There are very few grants available to individuals, sometimes called “personal grants.” Most grants are awarded to universities, researchers, cities, states, counties and non-profit organizations. If you are searching for a grant, get more information on specific grants and funding opportunities in a particular field, Grants.gov put all the information you need in one place.

The best place to find money to help you and your family is Benefits.gov.

When looking for financial assistance, remember that there are differences between grants and loans. You are required to pay back a loan, often with interest. You are not required to pay back a grant.

Your state’s human service or social service agency might also be able to provide financial assistance or refer you to local community organizations for help.