Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Federal Fumbles - 2016 Edition

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford just released "Federal Fumbles Vol. 2, 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball". It represents the second annual edition of this football themed publication. We covered the first edition about a year ago (see 100 Examples of Wasteful Government Spending).

The latest publication documents 100 new examples of wasteful, duplicative, and inefficient use of tax dollars. Many of them are examples of wasteful contracts and grants. Its not necessarily the contractors/grantees that are being called out on these programs - its the Government agencies that will fund studies to find out that kids don't like to eat food that has been sneezed upon or a grant to purchase custom "Snuggies". Some agencies should be embarrassed by publication of the kinds of research and contracts they award. The Senator is hopeful that those agencies be forced to make more responsible decisions. Ultimately, the Government decides on what to buy or what research to fund. Contractors are only responding to agencies' so-called needs.

Here are a few examples of questionable spending identified in the report.

  • National Institute of Health (NIH) spent more than $1 million on a campaign to tell mothers not to let their teenage daughters use tanning beds.
  • Three agencies combined to spend a half million dollars to support a temporary exhibit to share the best of medieval smells.
  • The EPA allows federal grant money be used for lobbying effort.
  • NIH spent a half million dollars to send text messages that discourage chewing tobacco.
  • GSA awarded a $1 million contract for a photograph of Yosemite falls to be hung in a new federal courthouse in California.
  • NIH (again) paid $10 million for a series of studies to learn that stress plays a role in illegal drug use.

Anytime the Government wants something, there are plenty of firms willing to take the Government largess. Can't really blame contractors for this kind of spending.

You can access the complete Federal Fumbles #2 report here.

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