Sen. Coburn: “The Most Egregious Ways Taxpayers’ Money is Being Squandered”

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his annual report on government waste almost two weeks ago. The report titled “Wastebook 2012” 100 of the mostegeregious was in which taxpayers’ money is squandered by the federal government.

Among the items Coburn mentions in his report are the following:

  • $516,000 to create a video game called “Prom Week” so people can relive their high school prom experiences;
  • $15 million for recruiting scientists for Russia’s weapons institutes;
  • $505,000 to a pet shampoo company;
  • $13,000 to paint a large mural of a carrot in order to deter obesity;
  • $10,000 for talking urinal cakes to deter drunk driving;
  • $1.5 million to vineyards;
  • $700,000 to develop beef jerky at the Pentagon;
  • $20,000 on circus classes;
  • $666,905 to research people watching reruns on TV;
  • Professional athletes overseas vacations;
  • School tax credits for prisoners who did not attend school;
  • Medicaid audit program costs more than it brings in, $30,000;
  • $939,771 to research male fruit flies’ attraction to younger female fruit flies;
  • $74 million for an electric vehicle tax credit that will not reduce emissions;
  • $750,970 to a brewery in New Hampshire;
  • $547,430 for a dancing robot named Shimi to serve as a disc jockey for smartphones;
  • $24,995 grant to develop a course entitled, “Should we want to be happy?”
  • $49,990 to a potato chip company for advertising;
  • $25,000 to promote the Alabama Watermelon Queen around the state;
  • $1.2 million to study older people playing the video game World of Warcraft;
  • $99,000 to a new distillery that will produce vodka and other hard alcohols; and,
  • $548,731 to study whether young people who drink alcohol feel immature
  • Coburn also included the $325,000 contributed to the construction of robotic squirrels to observe their interaction with rattlesnakes and described it as “When robot squirrels attack.”

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    “The Highway Trust Fund, which has been bailed out several times over the last five years, is a good example, as billions of dollars intended for transportation are wasted on questionable projects that do little to fix congestion or other transportation problems. An unused Ohio bridge – not even connected to a road or trail – received a half-a-million dollar makeover this year,” says Coburn. “An Oregon town will pay $388,000 for just five bus stops – enough to buy two houses in the same town! And in West Virginia, thousands of dollars were spent to reconstruct a historic streetscape…out of Legos. Would the dollars spent on these transportation projects not have been better spent to fix some of the 22,158 deficient bridges plaguing our national highway system?”

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    Coburn concludes his report, “These and the other examples of mismanagement, wasteful spending and special interest deals highlighted in this report represent missed opportunities to assist those in need and to shore up the nation’s finances….As you look at these examples, put your personal political persuasion aside and ask yourself: Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt our nation’s future?”

    No doubt our founders had the same mindset as Coburn. George Washington said, “No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt.”

    Thomas Jefferson warned against indebtedness saying, “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

    Even later on in our history, a president I consider the one that completely did away with our Constitution, Abraham Lincoln stated, “You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.”

    My friends, if the federal government is so blindly wasteful with our money, what do they actually think of us? Do they even care enough to do the moral and right thing and stop wasteful spending? It doesn’t seem that they do.

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