Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Federal Fumbles - Vol. 3

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford just released "Federal Fumbles Vol  3, One Hundred Ways the Government Dropped the Ball". This represents his third annual edition of this football themed publication. You can read our coverage of Volumes 1 and 2 by clicking here for the 2015 version and here for the 2016 edition. To download all three editions, visit Senator Lankford's dedicated webpage..

The latest publication documents 100 new examples of wasteful, duplicative, and inefficient use of tax dollars. Many, perhaps most of the examples are rooted in wasteful contracts and grants because those are the mechanisms for spending Government funds. But as in past years, Lankford is not necessarily calling out Government contractors and grantees for wasteful spending, the root problem lies in the layers of Congress and bureaucracy making the decisions that certain things would be a wise use of taxpayer funds. Many of the 100 fumbles boarder on the humorous and would be if it weren't for the realization that these are monies that could be spent on real needs of the country.

Here are just a few examples of what you can find in this report.

  1. A NSF (National Science Foundation) project to determine the public services provided by the Icelandic government to the 600 Syrian refugees arriving in their country.
  2. In 2007, the Air Force began a project to upgrade its Air Operations Center. After delays and cost overruns, the Air Force terminated the uncompleted project after spending $745 million. The Inspector General blamed the problem on the contractor.
  3. The National Archives decided to digitize 250 hours of video taken at a New York theater in the 1970s. The cost came to more than $400 per hour of film digitized.
  4. The Department of Energy paid an employee $138,000 to pursue a law degree (unrelated to his job) whereupon he immediately left for a job in the private sector.
  5. The NIH spent $1.6 million on research to discover that people paid to lose weight tend to lose more weight than those not paid to lose weight.
  6. The IRS spent $12 million to upgrade its email system. The upgrade never worked and was subsequently trashed.
  7. The Navajo Nation has received $803 million in block grants over the past 10 years to build homes for their members. They've built 1,110 homes which works out to $720,000 per house.
  8. The Federal Government spent $91 million in 2015 to administer the federal grazing program but collected only $14.5 million in grazing fees. They charge a fraction of what states charge.

Senator Lankford say's that he is hopeful that Agencies be forced to make more responsible decisions. We don't know if that will ever happen but the report does make some fun reading. Print out a copy and put it where you keep your copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul".

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