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  • Top 10 Examples of Wasteful Federal Spending in 2012

    Exotic dancers, robotic squirrels, and a reality TV show in India—your tax dollars supported all of these this year.

    Two reports just released—“Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012” by The Heritage Foundation and “Waste Book 2012,” a report by the office of Senator Tom Coburn (R–OK)—shed light on these and other examples of Washington’s irresponsible spending.

    If you value your tax dollars, you’re sure to be outraged by these wasteful projects. Following are the top 10 examples, five from each report. Though not necessarily the biggest ticket items, they are no doubt wasteful and representative of Washington’s spending addiction that must end.

    Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012:

    1. A reality TV show in India. The Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program spends $200 million a year to help U.S. agricultural trade associations and cooperatives advertise their products in foreign markets. In 2011, it funded a reality TV show in India that advertised U.S. cotton.
    2. Studying pig poop. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on swine manure and a $1.2 million grant to the United Nations for clean fuel promotion.
    3. Amtrak snacks. Federally subsidized Amtrak lost $84.5 million on its food and beverage services in 2011 and $833.8 million over the past 10 years. It has never broken even on these services.
    4. Using military exercises to boost biofuels. The U.S. Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuels for $12 million—or almost $27 per gallon—to conduct exercises to showcase the fuel and bring it closer toward commercialization. It is the largest biofuel purchase ever made by the government.
    5. Conferences for government employees. In 2008 and 2009 alone, the Department of Justice spent $121 million to host or participate in 1,832 conferences.

    Waste Book 2012:

    1. “RoboSquirrel.” $325,000 was spent on a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel.” This National Science Foundation grant was used to create a realistic-looking robotic squirrel for the purpose of studying how a rattlesnake would react to it.
    2. Cupcakes. In Washington, D.C., and elsewhere across the country, cupcake shops are trending. The 10 cupcake shop owners who received $2 million in Small Business Administration loan guarantees, however, can only boast so much of their entrepreneurial ingenuity, since taxpayers are backing them up.
    3. Food stamps for alcohol and junk food. Though they were intended to ensure hungry children received healthy meals, taxpayer-funded food stamps were instead spent on fast food at Taco Bell and Burger King; on non-nutritious foods such as candy, ice cream, and soft drinks; and on some 2,000 deceased persons in New York and Massachusetts. Food stamp recipients spent $2 billion on sugary drinks alone. Improper SNAP payments accounted for $2.5 billion in waste, including to one exotic dancer who was making $85,000 per year.
    4. Beer brewing in New Hampshire. Despite Smuttynose brewery’s financial success and popularity, it is still getting a $750,970 Community Development Block Grant to build a new brewery and restaurant facilities.
    5. A covered bridge to nowhere. What list of government waste would be complete without a notorious “bridge to nowhere”? In this case, it’s $520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003.

    Some of this waste hardly amounts to a rounding error by current federal budget standards. However, no spending cut is too small. Congress should root out even small instances of waste. Doing so will build momentum for it to tackle difficult, long-term budget challenges, such as entitlement program reform.

    Fiscal year 2012 is the fourth consecutive year with a trillion-dollar-plus deficit. Total federal debt has surpassed $16 trillion. Federal spending reached $3.6 trillion—or 22.9 percent as a share of the economy—in 2012. Despite these frightening figures, which are on track to worsen, Congress continues to expand government.

    Wasteful spending is intrinsic in big government, because government is concerned primarily with getting checks out the door and only secondarily with spending the money properly.

    As both “Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012” and “Waste Book 2012” warn, it is long past time for Congress to put the brakes on this wasteful spending—full stop.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Top 10 Examples of Wasteful Federal Spending in 2012

    1. J M Stern says:

      Only Warriors not lawyers can end fraud & waste. We tried this in the first Reagan administration.

    2. Eamon says:

      Addly enough, especially with pig waste some of these don't seem like the most worthless parts of Government spending at all.

      Notice, none of the GOP's pie-in-the-sky Star Wars military projects are up for discussion. Funny cause military spending is the vast majority of non-Medicare and -Social Security spending. Kinda ridiculous, no? I mean where were you guys when Bush was sending cash is suitcases to contractors in Iraq? Oh right, missing in action.

      Sure, some of these items are ridiculous, but these don't add up to anything like a significant chunk of the deficit. Try harder next time.

      • Frankie1429 says:

        You should proof read before posting. I think your first word should have been Oddly, not Addly. Also, if you take the time to read the title of this article, you'll see that it says "Top 10 Examples of Wasteful Federal Spending in 2012". Star Wars was a project of Reagan during the 80's. There was plenty of Wasteful Federal Spending back then, too, and it was reported just like these are being reported. This is Obama's Administration. BUT, a lot of these are probably from Republicans and Democrats alike, since the House controls the government purse and there is a Republican majority there now. Most of the folks in Washington need to be replaced. The majority of politicians are only looking out for their next election and continuing their career.

      • Billy says:

        Eamon, you posted… Sure, some of these items are ridiculous, but these don't add up to anything like a significant chunk of the deficit. Try harder next time. If you stop and buy a soft drink or two everyday on your credit card… then maybe lunch everyday, plus a piddling little thing here and little thing there pretty soon your debt would be much mor substantial than not adding up to a signicant chunk wouldn't it? Military spending? In a world full of enemies of the state… It doesn't bother me at all. If you lived in a neighborhood that hated you and your family would you not arm yourself? Oh so your not the kind of guy that protects your family and your home??? Guess you would depend on someone else eh?

      • Chris says:

        Not to mentions the fact that the deficit has increased from ten trillion after George Bush's eight years as president to sixteen trillion in four years under Obama.

        • COLLEEN says:

          Well what plans did Bush set in place to pay for the two wars started on his watch? Looks like he let the next guy pay.

    3. Laila says:

      This is exactly why healthcare should not be run by the government.

    4. Don says:

      I will NEVER understand how the Supreme Court could declare obamacare Constitutional. Talk about wastefull spending just wait till obamacare is fully functional, then you will see wastefull….

    5. Sharon says:

      We need to stop blaming everybody and anybody and just take responsibility for the here and now. Make the hard cuts and NO pork!

    6. Diane Ballou says:

      Just what I wanted to spend my money on…robotic squirrels!

    7. Maury Scott says:

      Does anybody recall getting to vote on any of these examples?…. Government by the people????

    8. Don l. Frichtl says:

      YES: M.B. You are Right about Wastefull Spending should end,, WE have had 12 years of it, ….GWB's over 10 Billion,, Obama's 6 Billion.

      YES:: M. B… 8 years under GWB's term created over 10 Billion,, then Obama's 4 years … created over 5 Billion … Totaling over 16 Billion.

    9. Robert LaCoe says:

      Don, Obama can not let anyone beat him at anything, so he has to spend >10 trillion in 8 years, and he is only a little ahead now. Obamacare, the green energy, and building mosques in foreign countries will help him over the top by at least 1 trillion.

    10. Diane Gruchow says:

      Why do we keep spending when the republicans control the house? Guess I don't understand.

      • Because there has not been any budget passed during Obama's reign. The Presidents budget proposal is rejected and the Senate refuses to vote on a budget, so to keep the government operating the House and Senate just keep passing Continuing Resolutions that allow the overspending to continue. Thanks Harry Reid!

    11. @undefined says:

      Republicans had full control, white house, house, senate.. democrats had the same. They are all looters and liars.

    12. James Mackey says:

      Another example of wasteful spending

      Letter to the Editor

      U S Maritime Academy Facility should serve Vets

      As I approach the fiftieth anniversary of my graduation I am seriously questioning the value to the American taxpayers of this institution. Founded during WWII to supply officers to man the ships vital to our foreign war effort the Academy served the nation, training officers through the uncertainty of the cold war and the war in Viet Nam. It satisfied its mission well and sent many leaders to serve this nation.

      The students, as in the past, pay essentially nothing for tuition room board and uniforms. All costs are paid under the US Department of Transportation, which contributes close to one hundred million each year.

      Times have changed eliminating the need for the Academy primarily because of the demise of our countries ocean going merchant fleet. When we graduated our country was still engaged in a cold war and had an American maritime industry ready to support our country. We as graduates had a commitment, which in the event of war we could have met in the American maritime service, US military or private maritime service. Today there is essentially no international maritime in our country. All we have are costal and lake transport industries which certainly would not warrant the numbers graduated by the Academy. The school is preparing graduates to serve in a non-existent industry. Only a very small percentage of graduates serve in the direct service of our country.

      I have concluded that the school no longer serves a purpose for the taxpayers of this country and that it is providing an unfair benefit to it's graduates who now compete predominately in an unrelated sector with those who have paid tuition and usually start their lives with tuition debt.

      Most state maritime schools have broadened their curriculums and joined their respective state university systems where tuition is charged.

      Further, I believe that it is unfair to graduates of our service academies who have mandatory service commitments and usually and unfortunately go off to war.

      Our graduates continue to not have a commitment to an industry which no longer exists. They go into stateside markets where they compete with peers who have the burden of past tuitions paid and often-unpaid student loans. I see that there is no broad industry that requires the special skills that the Academy provides. I do admit that there is value to employers of the leadership training that cadets receive but do not see the related burden on the taxpayers. I reject the idea that today’s cadets should receive the same benefits as we did 54 years ago as times have changed.

      The campus on the other hand is magnificent but in a deteriorated state. I believe that it would make an outstanding facility for the rest, rehabilitation and retraining of our returning veterans and even their families.

      James Mackey class of 1962 USMMA

    13. Mike Rogers says:

      Why not send comments to your representatives on how much you are displeased with federal spending. Obama went back 2 years ago and grabbed $1200 of my Social Security. No doubt he needs to play another round of golf.

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