The federal government has doled out nearly $1 million since 2010 to study the origins and influence of popular romance in books and films, $3 million spent by NASA to study how Congress works, and $150,000 to develop an educational game based on the zombie apocalypse.
These are just a few examples of how Washington is spending taxpayer dollars, according to a new report, Wastebook 2013, released yesterday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). The report, which highlights nearly $30 billion in wasteful, low-priority spending, comes as Congress debates a budget that will rollback modest, bipartisan spending cuts.
“While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress,” said Corburn in a statement on the report.
The report, Wastebook 2013, highlights nearly $30 billion in. The 100 examples provided in the report just scratches the surface of the large problem, according to Coburn.
“Had Congress, in particular, been focused on doing its job of setting priorities and cutting the kind of wasteful spending outlined in this report, we could have avoided both a government shutdown and a flawed budget deal that was designed to avert a shutdown,” said Coburn. He noted that the wasteful spending highlighted in the report is “a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement.”
Coburn said that “[t]here is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps.” He also eviscerated Congress for its lack of common sense and courage to make the difficult choices necessary to cut wasteful spending out of the budget.
“This report speaks volumes about why confidence in government is at an all-time low. The hard truth is we’d much rather borrow than cut. The American people are right to expect more,” he added.
Other examples of wasteful spending highlighted in the report are $7 billion of useable military equipment destroyed by the Department of Defense and $379 million promoting health plans available on the federal Obamacare exchange website. The report also notes that taxpayers are still paying the $52,952 annual salary of the Major Nadal Hasan, the Foot Hood shooter.