It’s a list that none of us wanted to see, but thanks to the wasteful spending of the federal government, one that has been dutifully assembled by U.S. Senator James Lankford: Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball, Vol. 2.
Like its predecessors, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake’s Wastebook (formerly produced by James Coburn) and former Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Awards, Federal Fumbles highlights some of the most extreme examples of wasteful spending done by federal government bureaucrats in the name of doing their jobs. And in some cases, doing the same jobs as other federal government bureaucrats!
Here’s a short list of 10 items from the full list of 100 that stood out from the rest.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spent $47,400 to create a randomizing app to direct airline passengers to either enter the left or right line at airport security stations.
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $2 million to fund organic farming – a $43 billion industry.
- Since 2008, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded $3 million in grant funding for the development of a 12-episode soap opera for women, Love, Sex, and Choices, that would be viewable on mobile phones for the purpose of encouranging “smarter decisions” to prevent HIV/AIDS.
- The U.S. Embassy in London offered $75,000 to bring 10 local “business and community leaders” to the U.S. for a 10-day trip to show them how Americans volunteer and give back to their communities.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) invested $412,930 in research on a paper arguing that glaciers are best studied using feminist theories: Glaciers, Gender, and Science: A Feminist Glaciology Framework for Global Environmental Change Research.
- Instead of collecting fines and penalties from defendants in cases it wins or successfully settles in the government’s favor, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is directing that the losing or settling part make large donations to favored third-party interest groups.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) awarded a $925,000 contract to have a 69-foot tall photograph of Yosemite Falls cut into six pieces and hung in a new federal courthouse in California.
- Since 2008, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have invested $76.5 million to purchase and modify an aircraft to assist in fighting the narcotics trade in Afghanistan that may never fly.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $1,179 on embroidered Snuggies (the popular blanket with sleeves advertised on late night television) at the University of Washington.
- Three federal agencies, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, have combined to spend $495,000 to support a temporary exhibit to share the best of medieval smells.
There is however just no getting rid of the smell from wasteful spending.