Senate Audit Exposes $18 Billion in Egregious Govt. Spending
As the nation suffers through a mind-boggling $16 trillion (and growing) debt crisis, a federal audit exposes some of the egregious ways the U.S. government has blown your tax dollars, including millions on Moroccan pottery classes and hundreds of thousands on a musical about climate change.
It would almost be unbelievable if it weren’t documented in a lengthy report (appropriately titled “Waste Book 2012”) released this week by a U.S. Senator who sits on the Finance, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees. While the Obama Administration racks up record debt, many government agencies have embarked on wild spending sprees as Congress sits idly by.
In all, the Waste Book exposes 100 examples that cost more than $18 billion in one year alone. And what were the federal lawmakers elected to represent our interests doing throughout this fiasco? Not much, the probe reveals. In fact this Congress made history for being the most unproductive and unpopular in decades. At the rate it’s going, this Congress could easily have the lowest level of legislative activity since statistics began being tabulated, the report says.
Now back to the frivolous government spending. Here are some of the highlights listed with tremendous detail in the Waste Book; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), created by President John Kennedy to promote social and economic development in foreign countries, blew $27 million to train Moroccans to create and design pottery that they could sell in domestic and international markets. An American pottery instructor was contracted to run the program.
Earlier this year, Judicial Watch wrote about an equally wasteful $10-million USAID program that trains Filipinos to work in Asian call centers that serve U.S. businesses. It’s called Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) and graduates get placed with outsourcing vendors that provide U.S. companies with profitable offshore perks, including Asia’s cheap labor costs. The U.S. program includes 400 hours of training over two years and 23,000 students are currently enrolled in the Philippines.
Now back to the Waste Book. Here is another good one; the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) doled out $4.5 billion in improper food stamp payments—including to an exotic dancer who earns north of $85,000 a year in tips—and the National Science Foundation (NSF) gave a New York theater company $700,000 to produce a musical about climate change.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) squanders nearly $1 million annually to develop a “Mars menu” of foods that humans can someday consume on Mars and has spent $1.6 million so far to develop mobile device applications, video games and entertainment programs. The Mars menu is part of NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Project and it’s already developed a recipe for pizza and about 100 other foods that humans can eat on Mars.
Other examples listed in the Waste Book include $325,000 for the development of “Robosquirrel,” a robotic rodent designed to test the interaction between rattlesnakes and squirrels; an unused Oklahoma airport that costs $450,000 a year to keep open, $300,000 for the USDA to promote caviar and nearly $50,000 on balloons for a U.S. Forest Service tribute.
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