At some point we will need to go beyond merely cutting waste, fraud, and abuse. We will eventually have to wind down the welfare state and close government departments and agencies. However, there is no reason we shouldn’t demand an immediate bipartisan effort to eliminate programs that are just plain dumb, even according to Democrat socialist ideology.
Nobody has been more assiduous and instrumental in identifying silly government projects than Senator Tom Coburn. Yesterday, Senator Coburn released his annual “Wastebook” profiling 100 “unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government.” The total cost of these programs is $6.9 billion. Cutting these programs would only account for roughly 40 hours of our debt, but why spend a penny on this stuff?
Here are some of the greatest hits:
- $120 million in retirement and disability benefits to federal employees who have died
- $30 million to help Pakistani Mango farmers
- $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union
- $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan
- $764,825 to examine how college students use mobile devices for social networking.
- $113,227 for a video game preservation center in New York
- $765,828 to subsidize a “pancakes for yuppies” program in Washington, D.C.
- $100,000 for a celebrity chef show in Indonesia
- $175,587 for a study on the link between cocaine and the mating habits of quail
- $606,000 for a study about online dating
- $17.80 Million in Foreign Aid to… China – (Department of State & U.S. Agency for International Development)
- The Super-Bridge to Nowhere – (Alaska) $15.3 Million
Yes, this is mere pocket change; we will not balance the budget by eliminating these preposterous projects. Nevertheless, they reveal just how apathetic our lawmakers are in handling public funds. They are also emblematic of the ridiculous budget process that has been in place in recent years. If we are going to pass 1200-page bills that fund the entire government with such short notice, we will invariably continue to fund these projects.
Coburn’s report gives us another 100 reasons why we should never pass omnibus bills.