Home > Free Market > Senator Coburn released the 2013 Wastebook

Senator Coburn released the 2013 Wastebook

wastebook

Cover of Senator Coburn’s 2013 Wastebook

Senator Coburn’s office just released the 2013 version of the Wastebook. This annual book breaks out one hundred blatant wastes of taxpayer dollars by the federal government. I’m going to highlight a few items from the list. But first I think it worth looking at these questions Coburn poses at the beginning of the document:

As you read each of the 100 projects costing nearly $30 billion outlined in this report, as yourself:

Can we afford this at this time?

Could this money have been better spent or not spent at all?

Is this a national priority or is this something benefiting a special interest?

Does this fit the role of the federal government as outlined in the U.S. Constitution?

Too bad each member of Congress doesn’t ask these questions when voting on the bills that create this waste or give unrestricted powers to bureaucratic regulators. As to his last question, sometimes I feel that few members of Congress have actually read or studied the Constitution.

Here are a few highlights (lowlights?) from the 2013 Wastebook:

Romance Novels:

NEH has invested nearly $1 million in this project over the past three years. In September, NEH issued a $250,000 grant for the “production of an interactive, multifaceted website that would serve as an anchor for the Popular Romance Project, a multimedia project on the writing, production, and consumption of popular romance literature.” Last October, NEH provided $616,000 for the “production of a two-hour documentary about the history and context of the romance novel and the global community built around a mass-produced popular cultural product” to be spent this year and next. In 2010, NEH awarded a two year grant totaling $48,000 for the “planning and scripting for a film, a symposium, and reading and discussion programs on how romance literature reflects universal themes of courtship, love, and intimacy” as well as travel to conferences about romance novels.

Really? A thriving portion of the published novel industry needed a million dollars of taxpayer dollars? I don’t think I am the only one that would call this particular item a “special interest”, and definitely NOT a national priority.

How do people feel about the filibuster?

This next one really pisses me. Not only did Senator Reid go nuclear and end the longstanding filibuster rule in the Senate for political convenience; but now we find out President Obama’s administration has wasted a quarter-million dollars to study people’s feelings about ending the filibuster:

The Obama Administration, which supported the move to end the filibuster, is spending more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars out of the budget of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study “attitudes toward the Senate filibuster among the American public.”
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis received a $251,525 NSF grant for the project, which is now in its fourth year

Really? With expenditures like this it is hard to believe the Obama administration has any semblance of fiscal responsibility. Ironically Coburn’s book goes on to mention this subject has already had a large variety of surveys done over the years. So not only wast massive amounts of taxpayer dollars wasted on this project, it can’t even be claimed it was done to add groundbreaking research for everyone’s good.

Wives just need to relax!

If your wife is angry at you and you don’t want her to stay that way, you might avoid passing along the findings of this government study.
Wives would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands, according to government-funded research.
The researchers observed 82 married couples. “The marriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict,” explained one researcher.

The National Institutes for Health spent $335,525 to conduct the study.

Again: really? We needed to spend about a third of a million dollars to determine that wives needs to calm down when arguing? Actually part of me is surprised the politically correct factions didn’t shut this project down. But I think I will take the articles advice and refrain from telling my wife the government’s stance that wives need to chill out during an argument.

Preparing our youth for the Zombie Math Apocalypse!

This year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) paid an interactive media firm to create a “Web-based, action-adventure, narrative-based, role-playing game where the player defends against zombies in an effort to save the human race.” While zombies are hardly something most people will ever encounter, the goal of the game is to teach middle school students how to apply math skills in “real-world tasks.”
NSF awarded the game designer $150,000 to craft the zombie experience. Even with enough money to buy thousands of textbooks, the grant designer will not be building a full game. Instead, three “mini-games” will be designed and tested with just 80 middle school students. Ironically, the same amount of funding could have paid the annual salaries of almost 5 teachers in North Carolina.

Yep, same response: Really? Nuff said…

I recommend anyone interested in government waste take some time to read the whole document. The few I highlighted here are actually small amounts compared to most of the waste in the report. However my point in highlighting these is to show that a series of ‘small’ wastes is just as bad as the monstrous wastes that normally get attention. And none of these projects stand up to the questions first posed by Coburn in the book. Until wasteful programs like this are eliminated, there is no credibility to the DC Democrat claim that “nothing can be trimmed from the federal budget”.

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    December 18, 2013 at 10:31 am | #1

    These are little snips of words that are designed to make you believe a certain point view. These are not the whole story or the whole truth. As my best friend,Pastor Bert says, “The story you read ain’t the real story.”

  2. Reagan Republican
    December 18, 2013 at 11:32 am | #2

    He’s one of my favorite Senators.

    • December 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm | #3

      I have to agree. There are a few minor things I disagree with him on. But overall he is a good example of what a Republican Senator should strive for.

  3. Tara Volesky
    December 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm | #4

    Ken, do you know the amount of money spent on pork our Representatives brought home for SD? We have no control over the legislators of the other 49 states, but we do in SD.

    On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 9:36 AM, SoDakLiberty

    • December 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm | #5

      I actually know someone is working on that right now. I’ll have to get in contact with him to see how that project is going.

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