U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, "Wastebook 2012" that highlights more than $18 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted in 2012. This report highlights 100 of the year's countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.
"The problem in Washington is politicians are very specific about what we should fund but not specific about what we should cut. As a result, we are chasing robotic squirrels and countless other low-priority projects over a fiscal cliff," said Dr. Coburn.
"This report also exposes the folly of across-the-board-cuts or sequestration. There is no question we can find hundreds of billion dollars of waste in our budget. Yet, by not going through the budget line by line and setting priorities we are protecting ridiculous programs like caviar promotion and climate change musicals while cutting vital programs. Until Congress has the guts to cut specific programs we will never get our debt under control. As these examples illustrate, it is not nearly as hard to make those choices as many politicians claim. Instead of spending federal dollars to help golfers imagine a smaller hole we should be trying to shrink the hole in our budget," Dr. Coburn said.
Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in "Wastebook 2012" include:
* Tax loopholes for the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL) and Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) -- professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits ($91 million in taxes)
* Moroccan pottery classes (part of a $27 million grant from U.S. Agency for International Development)
* Efforts to promote caviar consumption and production ($300,000)
* Robotic squirrel named "RoboSquirrel" (part of a $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation)
* Promotion of specialty shampoo and other beauty products for cats and dogs ($505,000)
* Corporate welfare for the world's largest snack food producer, PepsiCo Inc. ($1.3 million)
* Government-funded study on how golfers might benefit from using their imagination, envisioning the hole is bigger than it actually is ($350,000)
* "Prom Week," a video game that allows taxpayers to relive prom night ($516,000)
* Oklahoma's layover boondoggle, a scarcely used airport in Oklahoma receiving nearly half-a-million in taxpayer dollars only to transfer funds elsewhere in the state ($450,000)
* The 2012 Alabama Watermelon Queen tour paid for in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "to promote the consumption of Alabama's watermelon through appearances of the Alabama Watermelon Queen at various events and locations" ($25,000)