Politicians always seem to be confused as to why their work is not appreciated. Could this have anything to do with the endless parade of stories about government incompetence and waste?
Let's review a few of the latest examples of elected officials throwing away taxpayer dollars in something we call "This Week in Government Waste":
- It was just seven days ago that Glenn Beck reported on the $205,000 that was spent to "translocate" (definition: move) a single bush that was standing in the way of a $1.045 billion dollar, stimulus-funded highway construction project in California.
- The Department of Energy was called on the carpet for having almost as many taxpayer-funded vehicles (15,108) as they have employees.
- Washington DC catches a bunch of employees cashing paycheck while also collecting unemployment.
- One day later, the Obama administration is talking about a "Bridge To Work" that will allow people to continue to collect unemployment as they "try out" a job.
- A bankruptcy court approved $368,500 in bonus payments to 20 Solyndra executives. Taxpayers are on the hook for a loan of $535 million, and the execs who took lead the company are getting bonuses after the place closed down.
All of those stories are enough to make you want to slap a "Ron Paul for President" sticker on your bumper and start screaming about shrinking the size of government. However, they pale in comparison to the story about a government funded study from 2011 that gave cocaine to rats and then tested their musical preferences.
Albany Medical College received two grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to play classical music and jazz music for rats and test their reactions. And then they gave the rats cocaine and repeated the test. Apparently the little drug addicts found Miles Davis' music more palatable when they were under the influence of coke.
The summaries of the studies that IDA is complaining about reads like a Letterman Top 10 list.
Top 10 Most Ridiculous Research on Animals for 2011
10) DRUG-INDUCED ARTHRITIS IN RATS MAKES EXERCISE HARDER
9) RATS WHO RUN AROUND MORE APPEAR TO BE MORE ANXIOUS
8) PRAIRIE VOLES STUDY SUGGESTS SINGLE MOMS RAISE LESS LOVING CHILDREN
7) DIETING HAMSTERS CHOOSE FOOD OVER SEX
6) RAT BITTER-TASTE NERVES APPEAR TO WORK
5) CONTAGIOUS YAWNING IN CHIMPANZEES IS EMPATHETIC
4) ALLIGATORS' SOUNDS AND ANATOMY DIFFER FROM HUMANS'
3) LEMON-FRESH SCENT CAN INDUCE ERECTIONS IN MONKEYS
2) RATS FIND MILES DAVIS IS BETTER WITH COCAINE
1) LABS ARE STRESSFUL PLACES FOR MONKEYS
Just reading each one of those titles inspires comedy that practically writes itself. And then you realize that all of us were asked to pay for these studies! Tax dollars were used to fund each and every single study on that list.
Again, recent polls about the performance of our elected officials does not bring good news for any incumbent:
- Most Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction.
- Congressional approval sits at 17%
- President Obama's approval rating is still below 50%
Perhaps the people have caught on to the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse by many of those we have charged with spending our hard-earned money?