NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Waste Book 2012

October 19, 2012

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says that we have millions out of work in this country who are living with a tight budget, while the U.S. government continues with unlimited spending and no budget.  Coburn gives examples of the excessive spending in "The Waste Book."

The Waste Book is a publication that sheds light on the wasteful spending of the U.S. Congress.  It goes into detail on 100 examples of how many taxpayer dollars are being spent on profligate projects.  He even lists the U.S. Congress itself as a waste of money for costing so much and accomplishing nothing.  The total expenditure on the 100 examples is close to $18 billion, just considered a drop in the bucket to the total deficit in 2012. Sen. Coburn says that Congress can cut into the deficit $1 billion at a time.  He also states that the money for each item that he lists could be spent on something more important or not spent at all.

Some of the examples include:

  • Corporate loopholes where big profit companies can classify themselves as "nonprofit" and avoid paying millions in taxes.
  • The National Science Foundation Grant to universities in California that spent $325,000 of the grant money on a robotic squirrel that interacts with rattlesnakes.
  • An airport that receives $150,000 a year for only providing a runway for one flight a month.
  • NASA spends $1 million a year researching food for astronauts to eat on Mars even though there are no plans for a manned mission to Mars.

Source: Senator Tom Coburn, "Waste Book 2012," U.S. Senate, October 2012. Jonathan Karl, "Washington's Porkiest Projects:  Waste Book 2012," ABC News, October 15, 2012. "Coburn's 'Waste Book' Details $19 Billion in Eye-Opening Government Expenses,", October 16, 2012.


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