Did you know that the Department of Veterans Affairs spends $175 million every year to maintain hundreds of buildings it does not use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio ? How about the City of Shreveport who was told they weren’t spending their stimulus money fast enough so they hired contractors at a price of $1.5 million (15x the normal price) for mold remediation at Wilkinson Terrace, a development they intend to demolish. The National Science foundation gave Professor Bonnie Nardi $100,000 to analyze and understand the ways in which players of World of Warcraft collaborate.
These are just some of the really stupid ways the federal government has wasted your money in 2010. This morning, Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2010” (embedded below) highlighting some of the most maddening examples of government waste in during the past twelve months.
“As 2010 ends, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work. Even those lucky enough to have jobs have had to tighten their belts. Yet, Congress continues to find new and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars. In today’s economy, we can’t afford to spend nearly $2 million to showcase neon signs no longer in use at Las Vegas Casinos, nor can Congress and federal agencies afford to spend nearly $1 billion a year on unnecessary printing costs,” Dr. Coburn said.
Some of these government figures may seem tiny when compared to our nearly $14 Trillion, its the same excuse we hear about earmarks. The issue is that these projects are just the “tip of the iceberg.” Waste such as outlined in this report and earmarks promote a culture of waste in the federal government. This is not the Government’s money its the people’s and congress better learn to take better care with our money.
Additional examples of wasteful spending highlighted in the study include:
• The city of Las Vegas has received a $5.2 million federal grant to build the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum, including $1.8 million in 2010. For over the last decade, Museum supporters have gathered and displayed over 150 old Las Vegas neon signs, such as the Golden Nugget and Silver Slipper casinos.
• The National Science Foundation provided more than to $200,000 to study of why political candidates make vague statements.
• The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spends $175 million every year to maintain hundreds of buildings it does not use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio.
• Medicare paid out over $35 million to a vast network of 118 “phantom” medical clinics, allegedly established by members of a criminal gang to submit phony reimbursement claims.
• The Government Printing Office (GPO) is using a “video game space mouse” (and nearly $60,000 in taxpayer funds) to teach children the history of printing.
• In July, nearly half a million taxpayer dollars went to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, where wine tasting and castle tours were among the events planned for the conference participants.
• The Internal Revenue Service paid out $112 million in undeserved tax refunds to prisoners who filed fraudulent returns, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
• The National Science Foundation directed nearly a quarter million dollars to a Stanford University professor’s study of how Americans use the Internet to find love.
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) took the term “cold case” to a new level in 2010. The agency spent over $20,000 in taxpayer money “to unravel the anonymity of a 2,500-year-old mummy.”
• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent nearly $442,340 million to study the number of male prostitutes in Vietnam and their social setting.
• This year, taxpayers forked over $60,000 for the “first-of-its kind” promotion of the Vidalia onion in conjunction with the movie, Shrek Forever After. ”
• The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf “avatar” video game called “WolfQuest.”
• A $700,000 federal grant paid for researchers to examine “greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies, which are cause by cow burps, among other things.”
The full study is embedded below: