Quote of the Day:

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

Fox News

Senator Tom Coburn has released his famous Wastebook, and, as usual the senator has found some doozies. This will be Coburn’s final Wastebook (he is retiring from the Senate) and it is particularly valuable this year: it gives the lie to the Democratic canard that, thanks to GOP meanies, there just wasn’t enough money to prepare for Ebola.

There was plenty of money, a sea of taxpayer money, but lots of it got wasted. The news of federal workers who are costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions while they are on paid leave for disciplinary reasons has already broken. (Patrice blogged on this yesterday—see “Bad Behavior Bonus.”)

But that was only the tip of the waste iceberg. The problem: Congress gets to spend too much of Other People’s Money.

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” Dr. Coburn said. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

“I have learned from these experiences that Washington will never change itself. But even if the politicians won’t stop stupid spending, taxpayers always have the last word.”

The report notes that Congress “actually forced federal agencies to waste billions of dollars for purely parochial, political purposes.” The report highlights the following expenditures:

  • Coast guard party patrols – $100,000
  • Watching grass grow – $10,000
  • State department tweets @ terrorists – $3 million
  • Swedish massages for rabbits – $387,000
  • Paid vacations for bureaucrats gone wild – $20 million
  • Mountain lions on a treadmill – $856,000
  • Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys – $50,000
  • Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition — $1 billion
  • Scientists hope monkey gambling unlocks secrets of free will –$171,000
  • Rich and famous rent out their luxury pads tax free – $10 million
  • Studying “hangry” spouses stabbing voodoo dolls – $331,000
  • Promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists – $90 million

I must admit I was particularly taken with the diligence of the academics participating in a project that required getting mountain lions on treadmills:

“People just didn’t believe you could get a mountain lion on a treadmill, and it took me three years to find a facility that was willing to try,” exclaimed Terrie Williams, a University of California-Santa Cruz professor.

The experiment determined that mountain lions don’t have the aerobic capacity for sustained, high-energy activity. A bargain at $856,000!

It is difficult to single out one project to expand upon, so I urge you to read the report.