The PJ Tatler

Coburn Releases List of 100 Most Wasteful Federal Programs

Keep going, doc. I think you’re on to something:

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.

A select few of the dirty hundred:

• $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.

There are literally thousands of these expenditures — relatively small outlays for things that the federal government has no business spending tax dollars on.  It really highlights the need for a presidential line item veto — something the American people desire overwhelmingly but that the Supreme Court has struck down a couple of times already.

If the Congress was serious about cutting spending, they would go through the budget with a fine toothed comb to ferret out these nonsensical expenditures before they cut one penny from entitlements. Medicare and Social Security reform are vital, of course, but an argument can be made that those programs are indeed the province of the national government and are necessary. The examples given above have no business in the federal budget and are unnecessary and wasteful.

To change the culture in Washington means changing the way our elected leaders view the expenditure of tax dollars. And there is no better place to start than the thousands of meaningless outlays that weigh down the budget and have no justification for being funded by the taxpayer.

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