$175 million to maintain an unused monkey house. $1.8 million for a museum dedicated to old Las Vegas signs. $615,000 to digitize a Grateful Dead collection. And $823,200 to study genitalia washing in South Africa. Those are just some of the projects that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) uses as examples of government waste in his annual "Wastebook" report released today.
"During these difficult times when families are struggling to make ends meet, the federal government can best assist hard working Americans by keeping their taxes low and not burdening them with higher debt," Coburn says in the report's introduction. "Congress can do so by not spending money we do not have on things we do not need, like the over $11.5 billion of examples provided in this report."
"As you look at these examples, ask yourself: at a time when we are borrowing over $44,000 for every person in the country, are these items a priority and are they a federal responsibility?" he encourages readers. "Many taxpayers will no doubt agree that the wasteful spending uncovered in this report is not what they had in mind when they filed their taxes in April. Few will find that they represent the best our government has to offer."
According to The Hill, some of the projects mentioned in the report were paid for using controversial earmarks.
Interested parties can read the entire report for more examples, including: $224,000 for a bus statue; $609,160 for a zoo to develop a "Wolfquest" video game; and $997,766 to install poetry at zoos nationwide.
Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum will argue about the best way to get us back on track. But we can all agree that cutting wasteful and low- priority spending from the budget is not only sensible, but essential," Coburn says.