Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (whom we've met in these pages before) has released a new report. His Web site states:
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2011” that highlights over $6.5 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted. This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.
“Video games, robot dragons, Christmas trees, and magic museums. This is not a Christmas wish list, these are just some of the ways the federal government spent your tax dollars. Over the past 12 months, politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not absolutely need. Instead of cutting wasteful spending, nearly $2.5 billion was added each day in 2011 to our national debt, which now exceeds $15 trillion,” Dr. Coburn said.
“Congress cannot even agree on a plan to pay for the costs of extending jobless benefits to the millions of Americans who are still out of work. Yet, thousands of millionaires are receiving unemployment benefits and billions of dollars of improper payments of unemployment insurance are being made to individuals with jobs and others who do not qualify. And remember those infamous bridges to nowhere in Alaska that became symbols of government waste years ago? The bridges were never built, yet the federal government still spent more than a million dollars just this year to pay for staff to promote one of the bridges.”
Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2011” include:
- $75,000 to promote awareness about the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees & poinsettias.
- $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.
- $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.
- $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.
- $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.
- $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.
- $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.
- $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.
- $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.
The full 98-page report may be viewed here (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).
I won't bother describing my reaction to this report, as the provision of fireproof monitors would render my readers' computers prohibitively expensive. I'm just sorry Senator Coburn isn't one of the candidates for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. He seems an awful lot more aware of fiscal reality than any of those currently duking it out! Perhaps we should mount a write-in campaign for him?