Coburn: More than $200 billion thrown away by feds each year

Waste Book 2013
Waste Book 2013 cover from Dr. Tom Coburn Senate pages.

No one in Congress has been as diligent as Oklahoma Republican senator Tom Coburn when it comes to documenting the waste of taxpayer dollars. It makes sense for both political parties to address Coburn’s claims, especially with the looming possibility of tax hikes disguised as reform.

Coburn’s Waste Book 2013 discloses approximately $30 billion in wasteful spending, but he believes hundreds of billions are thrown away by the federal government every year.

Bizarre examples of wasted taxpayer dollars fill the 177-page report. Among them:

  •  NASA spent $390,000 on a little green man cartoon.
  •  A company in North Carolina got $150,000 taxpayer dollars to come up with a math game based on the zombie apocalypse.
  • Officials in New York and New Jersey spent a whopping $65 million after Hurricane Sandy—for advertising, not disaster aid.

Spending on the PPACA/Obamacare tax bill is already suspect. The full bill isn’t even implemented, but the feds have already spent $379 million to promote and erect the government’s website for enrollees to purchase a plan.

Bucks aren’t just wasted on the Web. Coburn’s book explains how the federal government spends $1.5 billion each year to maintain properties we don’t even use. General Services even spent $2 million on an empty warehouse over a 3 year period.

“While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress,” said Dr. Coburn.

As committees in Congress cut military pensions for disabled retirees and searched for ways to hike taxes, little has been done about billions wasted every year.

Coburn said, “The nearly $30 billion in questionable and lower-priority spending in Wastebook 2013 is a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement.   There is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps.  What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible spending bills – possible.”

Coburn’s whole report, Waste Book 2013, is posted on his Senate Web site.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Dec. 18, 2013)

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