Tuesday, March 5, 2013

National Security vs Waste

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn released his “Wastebook 2012” last October. In it, he listed the 100 most wasteful government expenditures and tax loopholes. The list included some very questionable federal spending: 
  • “When robot squirrels attack – (CA) $325,000 – An NSF grant was used to create a robot squirrel to study how squirrels and rattlesnakes interact. Previous research on this relationship already exists.”
  • “USDA’s caviar dreams – (ID) $300,000 –USDA gave a grant to a caviar producer in Idaho for marketing.”
  • “Smokey Bear balloons – (Department of Agriculture) $49,447 – USDA pays to have a Smokey Bear hot-air balloon at festivals in the Southwest. Money could be used for a DC10 tanker to fight wildfires.”
  • “Government-funded study finds golfers need to envision a bigger hold – (IN) $350,000 – NSF funds go to a study of how golfers can putt better if they envision the hole is bigger.”
  • “Science research dollars go to a musical about biodiversity and climate change – (NY) $445,444 – NSF funds spend on a musical about biodiversity and climate change. Reviews of the play said it was boring and needed improvement.”
  • “Should grandma and grandpa play World of Warcraft? – (NC) $1.2 million – Researchers study whether the elderly could play World of Warcraft to increase their cognitive function. They used NSF funding.”
  • “Crazy for cupcakes! – (Small Business Administration) $2.0 million – Taxpayers are on the hook for $1.8 million in loans to cupcake boutiques from the Small Business Administration.”
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