There's an army air base on the west side of town. As I was driving past it the other day, I saw a whole bunch of small planes taking off, circling around, and then landing. Among my first thoughts was: "My tax dollars at work. I wonder how much they're spending to go around in circles like that."
Most people who use that phrase are using it to disapprove of governmental services they wouldn't personally want to contribute to, such as the welfare system. (Not I in the above instance, to be clear.) So my second thought was: "I bet nobody ever thinks about 'my tax dollars' when they see evidence of military training."
Because of course we need our military to be well-trained so that they can do their jobs. Nobody questions that. Fighter pilots are doing noble, glamorous things in the name of defending the country - and flying around in pointless circles is a necessary precursor.
Meanwhile, people attempting to feed their families and have some semblance of a happy life are parasites. I guess it's not glamorous enough to do that - even though being fed is a necessary precursor to doing much of anything else.