From funding a zombie game to funding a YouTube show, from studying romance to studying wives calming down during an argument, Washington was at it again in 2013 and continues to be known as the beacon of waste and utter incompetence.
Everyone knows the United States federal government wastes money. On an immense scale, the government’s foreign endeavors can be viewed as an astronomical waste, while the government spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on pet projects is also a waste. The truth is, whether it’s a massive initiative put forward by the administration or a small earmark, it all adds up in the end.
There are two particular quotes iterated by Thomas Jefferson that apply to Washington:
“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.”
“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”
Today, the national debt is more than $17 trillion, the budget deficit is just under $1 trillion and unfunded liabilities and expenditures are anywhere between $120 trillion and $220 trillion, a debt that has to be paid somehow by future generations. These figures have been the result of expecting the government to be solution to all of our problems and to be a source of unlimited resources.
This is can be identified in the annual Wastebook, a report published annually by Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn that highlights some of the biggest wastes of taxpayer money on questionable items.
On Tuesday, the 2013 Wastebook listed 100 examples of waste that totaled $30 billion. According to Coburn, the biggest waste of money this year was to pay government employees to do nothing. That’s right, the partial government shutdown that took place cost taxpayers $2 billion because furloughed federal workers, who missed 16 days of work, were still paid.
“[I]t is not the fault of these civil servants that Congress did not do its job and, like everyone else, they have bills to pay,” Coburn wrote in his fourth annual 177-page “Wastebook.” “But it is truly unfair to charge billions of dollars to pay others not to work to taxpayers working to cover their own bills and the bills of the government. This is especially true when the non-essential federal employee is being compensated more than twice the average U.S. income.”
The GOP senator further explained that as Washington lawmakers complained about the effects of sequestration, a measure to reduce the increase in the 2013 budget, which also meant that the federal government still spent more in 2013 than it did in the previous year, the government was still able to find the money to fund romance novels and purchase Facebook friends.
“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 in a statement.
Here are some of the examples of waste:
– $910,000 for the Popular Romance Project to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”
– $325,525 for a government study to conclude that wives should calm down during arguments.
– $379 million (approximate number) on building and promoting Obamacare and creating a website that doesn’t work.
– $3 million for NASA to study how Congress works.
– $390,000 for a NASA YouTube show designed to teach children about global warming.
– $150,000 for a math game based on the zombie apocalypse
– $1.5 billion to maintaining government buildings the government no longer needs.
– $200,000 for an Oklahoma winery
– $9 million for an army reality show created to attract recruits.
– $52,952 paid to Major Nidal Hasson, the Fort Hood Shooter, as part of his military benefits.
– $360,000 to pay 20 individuals to do nothing for 70 days.
This is what the government does best: spend the fruits of your labor on wasteful programs. Just imagine if that $30 billion was put back into the private sector!