The 100 projects revealed in the report include:
$38.8 million in subsidies for a tourist train in Alaska;
$5.5 million for a State Department program to send professional athletes on diplomatic trips around the world;
$947,000 for an outpost in Hawaii where NASA scientists study what astronauts could eat on Mars;
$520,000 for the rehabilitation of an unused covered bridge in Ohio;
$505,000 for a pet shampoo and toothpaste company in Nebraska, and
$325,000 for a National Science Foundation grant to study how squirrels and rattlesnakes interact.
The 2012 Waste Book was recently released by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and in it, he details $19 billion in shocking government expenses.
The report, which Coburn has published every year since 2010, lists examples of government fraud and waste for the purposes of educating taxpayers about where their dollars are going. “The reason we put the waste book out,” explained Coburn, “is so people … can see that the federal government isn’t making any tough decisions, as long as we continue to fund things that are listed in this group.”
Among some of the wasteful spending outlined in the 2012 Waste Book was the development of a $325,000 “robo-squirrel” to study rattlesnake and squirrel interaction, as well as a $300,000 grant to promote caviar and a nearly $700,000 grant to develop a musical about climate change.
Think Congress does not have much to show for itself this year? Think again. A new report from Senator Tom Coburn’s office highlights dozens of examples of government waste in 2012. Included for the first time on this list: Congress. The very people looking into government waste find they themselves are wasteful. Coburn’s report estimates $132 million of taxpayers’ money was wasted on “the most unproductive and unpopular Congress in modern history.”
“The waste is unbelievable,” says Coburn. “We’re bankrupt, this country is bankrupt, and people just don’t want to admit it.”