I encourage all Americans to tune into the Republican and Democratic conventions in the coming days, because, after all, you’re paying for it.

Yes, the U.S. Treasury last year cut a $17.7 million check to the Committee on Arrangements for the 2012 Republican National Convention, and a check for an identical amount to the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee.

That’s $35.4 million taxpayers are paying for things like balloons, speech prep, liquor, newspaper subscriptions, hotel rooms,as I wrote last year. It’s not security spending. Perusing the convention committee’s spending records shows what you’re paying for.

This year, for instance, you, the taxpayer, bankrolled a Democratic Convention confab at Connolly’s Irish Pub in Charlotte (“Home of the Perfect Pint”), where the Dem’s convention committee racked up a $572.63 bar tab. The taxpayer-funded committee is also covering the $2000-a-month housing allowance of convention chief-of-staff and former Energy Department appointee Travis Dredd.

Republicans ran up plenty of big hotel and dining tabs including an April 26 dinner at Charlie Palmer’s Steak House in DC for $746 — again, all from an account primarily funded by U.S. taxpayers. Four years ago, the GOP convention committee shelled out for a Wall Street Journal subscription, but this year it’s the New York Times.

The subsidy is part of the “clean-elections” push after Watergate. The money comes from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund is paid for by taxpayers. I explained last year: “The money comes from those who check the box at the top of their 1040 to redirect $3 of their tax payment. Because checking the box doesn’t increase your tax liability, this is, in effect, a 100 percent tax credit on a $3 contribution to politicians. It’s one of those ‘tax expenditures’ President Obama claims he’s targeting.”