Wednesday, December 2, 2015

100 Examples of Wasteful Government Spending

You can't always blame contractors for wasteful Government spending. The Government holds the public purse and decides what to buy. Contractors are there to offer their services by bidding on the contract. If the Government decides it needs to study the dating habits of senior citizens, there are plenty of contractors or grantees out there who are willing and able to conduct such a study.

Senator James Lankford, Oklahoma, released a compilation of questionable federal expenditures this week, identifying 100 ways that Government squandered taxpayer funds. The report, employing a football theme, is entitled "Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball."

Some of the examples of wasteful spending have been previously reported such as the lead article in the publication describing the Pentagon's $43 million gas station in Afghanistan. The idea behind the gas station was to help build up the economy of Afghanistan. By taking advantage of the natural gas reserves within Afghanistan, the country could alleviate the need for importing fuel. Problem was, there was no natural gas distribution system in the country and the cost of converting vehicles to natural gas exceeded the annual income of the average Afghani. To make matters worse, the Pentagon is unable to explain the high cost of the project.

Senator Lankford's compilation pillories just about every Federal agency, not just the Department of Defense. The National Endowment for the Arts for questionable grants, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement that spent $6 million to renovate an unsafe building only to have it declared unsafe for occupancy, the National Institute of Health for truck driver weight-loss intervention program, and so forth.

Some of the waste boarders on the humorous. The State Department paid a contractor $500 thousand to train employees how to sit before a congressional committee and answer questions.  The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million to teach robots how to choose outfit combinations for and dress the elderly. The National Park Service spent $65 thousand to find out what happens to bugs at night in rural areas when someone turns on a light. Sounds like a high school science project.

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