Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn released his annual Waste Book, a report that highlights government waste at the federal and state level. This year, congress is this year's biggest waste of taxpayers' money.
Last year, the federal government wasted taxpayers’ money on $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” in Pakistan, $113,227 for a video game preservation center and $48,700 toward a Hawaiian chocolate festival. This year, it’s the NFL, NASA and “robosquirrels.”
The annual Waste Book was released Monday by the Oklahoma Senator, who plans to retire in four years from public office. Waste Book 2012 makes note of the worst examples of government waste and excessive spending of the year. This year’s total waste, according to Coburn’s report, is approximately $18 billion.
Out of everything in Washington, Coburn lists congress at the top because it has been the least productive in more than 60 years and taxpayers were on the hook for more than $132 million just to run congress. The report emphasizes the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Finance Committee; the former for not manufacturing a budget and the ladder for not creating any substantial entitlement or tax code legislation.
“All of the outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible by either the action or lack of action of Congress, earning it the well-deserved but unwanted distinction as the biggest waste of taxpayer money in 2012,” said Coburn in a press release.
“The problem in Washington is politicians are very specific about what we should fund but not specific about what we should cut. As a result, we are chasing robotic squirrels and countless other low-priority projects over a fiscal cliff.”
Here are 10 examples of waste that Waste Book reported:
- $91 million worth of tax loopholes for the Professional Golfers’ Association, National Football League and the National Hockey League
- A $516,000 video game called “Prom Week” that allows taxpayers to relive prom night
- “RoboSquirrel,” a robotic squirrel that scientists are creating to test if rattlesnakes would eat it – this is part of a $325,000 grant to the National Science Foundation
- $505,000 for specialty shampoo promotions marketed toward cats and dogs
- $1.3 million corporate welfare for PepsiCo Inc.
- Moroccan pottery classes as part of a $27 million grant to the U.S. Agency for International Development
- $300,000 initiative to promote caviar consumption and production
- $70 million waste to produce $35 million worth of pennies
- $1.5 billion toward cell phone service subsidies
- NASA budgets $1 million each year to develop a “Mars menu,” an effort to create a menu that humans could consume one day on our neighboring planet
Waste Book 2012 details 90 other examples of government waste, but Coburn concedes that the $18 billion the report finds is nothing compared to the $16 trillion national debt and trillion-dollar-plus budget deficit.
“Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt our nation’s future?”