U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today released Wastebook: PORKémon Go, highlighting 50 examples of outrageous and wasteful federal spending amounting to more than $5 billion. This is Flake’s second edition of the Wastebook series, started by retired Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Among the 50 examples of egregious federal spending uncovered in Flake’s latest report is a program that accepts peanuts for loan repayments, a computer that binge-watched  “The Office,” and a sequel to the shrimp on a treadmill study…. research into what happens when you put a fish on a treadmill.

“Government boondoggles come in all shapes and sizes and pop up just about everywhere,” said Flake. “Hopefully this report will be a guide to catch egregious spending lurking in the federal budget.”

Below are ten of my favorite stupid government programs.


  • $1.7 million for a comedy club starring holograms of dead comedians. I loved Lucy, and really enjoy comedy. But with a national debt of almost $20 trillion, should the government be paying to create 3D images for a new Comedy Museum?
  • $74 million for a program that allows taxpayer-backed loans to be repaid with peanuts  (Maybe Jimmy Carter was behind this one).
  • $1.5 million to test the endurance of a fish on a treadmill. Remember shrimp on a treadmill? Here’s the sequel:

  • $5 million to study the partying habits of fraternities and sororities. OH COME ON!!! Hasn’t anyone in the federal government seen “Revenge of the Nerds” or “Animal House”?
  • $460,000 for a computer to binge-watch “Desperate Housewives” and “The Office” in order to learn human behavior. They wanted to see if the computers could predict when people would kiss.  I have four cousins who either wrote, produced, or acted in “The Office”. As a sitcom it mocked human behavior–can a computer tell the difference between real life and comedy?  Either way, my cousins are all good patriotic American, if someone had asked I am sure they would have proved the research company with DVD’s so the computers could watch at their leisure instead of binge watching. And come to think of it, why couldn’t that same computer watch “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Animal House” and save the $5 million they paid to study college partying habits.
  • $3.5 million to learn why people are afraid of going to the dentist. Another really stupid one, hasn’t anyone in the federal government heard of PAIN?


  • $817,000 to study monkey drool and the evolution of saliva.
  • $3.4 million for hamster cage fight matches. Didn’t Michael Vick go to jail for 21 months for doing the same thing with dogs? Even worse the researchers used  Syrian hamsters because they are good “guinea pigs” for these experiments because they are by nature both solitary and territorial and will fight if they come into contact with one another. So far, more than 1,000 hamsters have taken part in the experiments. Consider this? Haven’t the Syrians suffered enough.
  • $300,000 to study if girls or boys spend more time playing with Barbie dolls. It is no surprise that when Vanderbilt psychologist Isabel Gauthier conducted this study it found that that girls are better at identifying Barbie faces and boys are better at recognizing Transformer faces. And as someone who was responsible for media planning for Transformers in the late 80s and early 90s, allow me to add that I’m very proud.



  • $450,000 to determine if dinosaurs could sing—apparently they could’t. But those findings don’t account for the recordings of Tony Tyrannosaurus singing I left my tail in San Fransisco discovered by paleontologists.
  • $12 million for an IRS unused e-mail archiving service. Now this money could have better been used for an IRS finding the applications of conservative groups service.
  • The FAA has poured $200 million into building and upgrading the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, which has just one airline operating out of it, the world famous, Allegiant Airlines.

All and all the 50 programs represent $5 billion dollars which many would explain is just a drop in the federal budget bucket…entirely true.  But the way the federal government operates is every needless or wasteful program is just a drop in the bucket. When you put them all together it’s a lot of drops in a lot of buckets. And with a federal deficit of almost $20 trillion, we can’t afford to fill all of those buckets.

Read the full 2016 Wastebook Report embedded below:

Wastebook 2016 Final PDF by Jeff Dunetz on Scribd