People often complain about the government wasting money on this or that, but when you see this stuff in print it reinforces the total disregard that the professional politicians in Washington have for the money they get from "we the people".
The office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday released the October 2012 edition of its annual “Wastebook,” a collection of what many would consider frivolous and unnecessary government expenditures.
“Washington politicians don’t even bother to give themselves a budget anymore. For the third consecutive year, Congress failed to pass a budget. And, for the fourth straight year, these compulsive spenders charged more than $1 trillion to our national credit card, pushing us to a $16 trillion debt,” the senator writes in the report’s intro.
“Washington priorities are backwards. This is why important programs go bankrupt while outdated and outlandish projects continue to be funded,” he adds.
However, as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) stressed yesterday with his chart on labor force “growth,” Sen. Coburn’s “Wastebook” shouldn’t be looked at as a Republican versus Democrat issue. It underscores a much deeper problem in Washington that both parties have allowed to fester.
The report is hundreds of pages long, but here are the top five "projects" on which "our" money was wasted.
MOROCCAN POTTERY CLASSES – (U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT) $27 MILLION
In 2009, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began pursuing a four-year plan to improve the economic competitiveness of Morocco. A review by the agency’s Inspector General (IG) found the $27-million project “was not on track to achieve its goals.”
USDA’S CAVIAR DREAMS – (ID) $300,000
Fish Processors of Idaho was given a $300,000 Value-Added Producer Grant by USDA to create a website, print flyers and send the company’s owner to trade shows “in places like Boston and Chicago” to “entice distributors to bring his caviar to the masses.”
The federal government spending $300,000 of taxpayer funds to promote caviar or any other lucrative luxury cuisine, however, is just plain fishy.
RELIVE PROM WEEK WITH NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION VIDEO GAME — (CA) $516,000
Whatever feelings high school prom may elicit, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided taxpayers with a chance to relive the occasion. In 2012, the agency supported the creation of “Prom Week,” a video game simulating all the social interactions of the event. The project used part of a $516,000 grant from NSF.
Without a standard storyline, “Prom Week” players can take one of the game’s characters – 18 different high school students – in many different directions.232 As a character in the game, they may participate in “getting a date with that cute boy in algebra class” or “convincing Buzz to give Monica a second chance.”
SELF-REFLECTION VIDEO GAME BASED ON HENRY DAVID THOREAU’S 1845 WRITINGS – (CA) $40,000
The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $40,000 grant to the University of Southern California (USC) to support production costs of a video game based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. There, he famously spent several years, reflecting on natural beauty and learning self-reliance.
ROBOSQUIRREL – (CA) $325,000
Squirrels are frequently preyed upon by the rattlesnakes, but the snakes rarely attack squirrels who are wagging their tales. When they do, they usually miss the fast moving squirrel.But what happens when a snake is confronted by a robot squirrel, built to look, act, and even smell like the real thing?
Researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California (Davis) spent a portion of a $325,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to construct a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel” to answer that question.
If you wish to read the full report –