Sunday, December 13, 2015

December, 2015, Bonus Post, Political Class Insanity: Wastebook 2015

It is the start of another month which means it is time for our monthly review of the latest political class insanity that continually spews forth from America’s politicians. Their actions, words, quotes, incompetency, and general ineptness continue to reinforce our theory that we are currently being served by the worst set of politicians in the history of the nation.

As you read about the latest shenanigans and ineptness of the political class, keep in mind what should be their priorities in these difficult times and compare this list to what they are actually working on:

  • NBC recently reported that ISIS forces are getting larger and stronger despite the Obama administration spending billions of dollars on a failed air campaign and military strategy.
  • The stock market is stalling.
  • Job creation is barely keeping up with population growth.
  • Wage growth is anemic, growing just .2% in the second quarter, the lowest quarterly growth since 1982.
  • The labor participation rate is at the lowest level in decades because the Obama economy cannot generate enough jobs.
  • Thousands of veterans are still not getting the medical care they were promised by the Federal government.
  • 45 million Americans are still receiving monthly Federal food assistance.
  • Our borders still leak and thousands of illegal immigrant criminals continue to walk our streets.
  • Major programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are hurtling towards insolvency and lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year to fraud and mismanagement.
  • Our kids are still getting lousy public educations at most public schools.
  • The IRS and other government functions seem to be getting their computer systems hacked on a regular basis, exposing tens of millions of Americans to identity theft potential.
  • Obama Care is a failure along so many dimensions as health care costs continue to soar despite the Obama promise that they would decrease.
  • Annual Federal deficits, while down, are still about half a TRILLION a year meaning that even though the Federal government is collecting more in taxes than ever before, it still cannot run a balanced budget.
Again, keep these real crises in mind as you read what our politicians are actually doing, saying and wasting. Today we are focusing solely on the latest publication in the government Wastebook series. For years, former Senator Tom Coburn combed through Federal government spending to annually find the 100 most outrageous ways that the Washington political class waste taxpayer wealth. 

That tradition continued this year, operated by Senator Jeff Flake since Coburn is no longer in the Senate. The insanity and idiocy of the spending, however, is just as outrageous and insulting to hard working, tax paying Americans as ever. As we have asserted in previous years when we reviewed past Wastebook examples, no American, rich or poor, should ever pay another penny in taxes until this type of rampant nonsensical spending is eliminated by the Federal government and those that operate it.

In light of the release of the upcoming Star Wars movie, this year’s issue is entitled, Wastebook 2015, The Farce Awakens. And what a farce it is, especially in light of the problems facing Americans that we listed above.

1) One study by the National Institutes of Health paid university researchers $1 million to study the effects of monkeys running on treadmills. Some of the findings included documenting how some of the monkeys vomited and defecating while exercising on the treadmills. I can think of no reason in the world why we need to study monkey treadmill behavior. If the justification of the $1 million is to study how treadmill use affects humans, than do the study on humans directly, why on monkeys?

2) The National Science Foundation (NSF) is always a main source of idiotic projects and wasteful spending that have nothing to do with real science and real world issues. Previous wastes of taxpayer money from the NSF can be seen at:

This year the NSF stepped up with studies to see if a koozie does in fact keep beer cold (it does, rejoice!), conducted wine classes to teach minors how to make wine to the tune of $853,000, and gave the Department of Agriculture $68,129 to spend on a craft beer, wine, and spirits training program… Vietnam.

3) The Department of Transportation spent $77,000 on anti-drunk driving public service announcements where fake drunk men criticize women’s looks. One of the announcements filmed a fake drunk guy telling a woman that “plastic surgery would do wonders for your jaw structure and definitely your nose” and another one had a fake drunk man telling a woman she would “be cuter with the lights off.” Huh, how does this type of sexist, insulting behavior fix a drunk driving issue?

4) A California professor landed an amazing $5 million to throw “commune” dance parties for young “hipsters” to try and get them to stop smoking. Party attendees were actually paid $5 a week to attend these taxpayer sponsored parties. Getting people to stop smoking is a noble effort but spending $5 million in a single location in California is not the way to do it because 1) it is a stupid idea and 2) even by some miracle it was successful, it is not transferable to the larger population, not at $5 million per location.

5) Fat seemed to be a theme in this year’s wasteful spending since in one study, $17,500 was spent to pay college students to wear fat suits for “weight sensitivity training” and $200,113 was spent to develop a “fat detector” that guesses a person’s body mass index by looking at their face. Really, weight sensitivity training and a fat detector, are you kidding me?

6) The EPA spent $15,000 to create a device that monitors how long hotel guests spend in the shower. Again, to what purpose? If hotels want to know how long people shower, then let the hotel industry pay for the device’s development.

7) Some government financed researchers spent a disgusting $2.6 million to try and craft the perfect tweet. They concluded that the best way to get retweets is to include phrase, “pls retweet.” Over $2 million for this nonsensical common sense finding.

8) $707,000 was spent on a study to start a “shrimp fight club” that resulted in 34 bouts with mantis shrimp.

9) $853,000 was spent on a “sing along brunch party” involving 80 people who sang tunes from Annie to promote a farmers’ market. No farmers’ market anywhere is worth $853,000 in taxpayer wealth.

10) Within a $5 million Department of Agriculture grant, tailgating kits were made that included a koozie, apron, and a food thermometer for University of Nebraska football fans.

11) Back to NSF waste, it also spent $1,200,000 which resulted in a life size Pac-Man game on a basketball court and another $899,000 was spent studying “the social interactions of guppies.”

12) NASA spent $1.2 million testing “microgravity” on sheep which they even admitted was a “niche” project and even though they already know that bone density decreases while in space and the likelihood they will be sending sheep to Mars is minimal.

13) The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave away $210,000 to a dog clothing company that makes a dog vest with an ”exclusive double Velcro closure.”

14) Back to the NSF (are we seeing a trend here?), $276,194 was spent trying to figure out how unattractive people find attractive mates. Their conclusions? Be friends for a while first, information that is critical to the well being of the country.

15) $50,000 was spent by the State Department for a Do-It-Yourself festival in Moscow, Russia.

16) $780,000 was spent to study pizza addiction, a malady that I would think is far less destructive than meth or heroin addictions, two problems that actually deserve studying.

17) $2.1 million was spent promoting tourism in Lebanon even though the State Department strongly advises against visiting due to ongoing terrorist and security issues.

18) $3 million in “bus security grants” was given to companies operating luxury charter buses and limousines, including a self-hyped “nightclub on wheels.”

19) $104.4 million was paid to subsidize low income public housing for high income people. 

20) $175,000 was spent to develop a smartphone app that lets you know who caught the fish you are currently eating.

Rather than spending $175,000 on that fish smartphone
app, maybe that money would have been better spent on the millions of Americans that go hungry every day. 

Rather than spend a million dollars to see how monkeys behave on a treadmill, maybe that money could have been spent to give our veterans the medical care they were promised but not receiving. 

Rather than spend $780,000 to study pizza addiction of college kids, that money could have been spent to save the lives of addicts who die to the tune of over 40,000 a year due to their addiction.

Rather than spend $104 million to help high earning Americans live in low income taxpayer subsidized housing, maybe that money would have been better spent to find shelter for the millions of homeless Americans.

I think you get the idea. So many Americans are suffering today and every day yet the Washington political class spends and wastes money on efforts that will have no immediate impact on the millions of suffering Americans and in most cases will have no impact EVER for any American…. except the college professors or universities that got the taxpayer money for such stupid and vanity projects.

There should be two strict criteria that need to be met before any taxpayer money is doled out, as we listed them in our book, “Love My Country, Loathe My Government:”

  1. Unless the proposed project significantly affects the lives of a significant amount of citizens in at least five states, the Federal government and taxpayer has no right or duty to fund it.
  2. Unless the funding is directly going to address the major issues of our times , i.e. homelessness, poverty, high healthcare costs, major illnesses, leaky borders, failing public education, and drug addiction, then no money should be forthcoming for any other proposal. By “directly” I mean that the connection to these major issues can be simply explained in twenty words or less.If it takes 21 words or more to explain how a proposal affects these issues than it is to be considered BS and discarded. 
Studying and funding how ugly people end up marrying attractive people and other such nonsense is a big reason why our national debt is over $18 TRILLION and why real issues never get resolved. President Obama promised he would go through the Federal budget “line by line” to wring out wasteful spending. Wastebook 2015 proves that he has lied, again, since the Federal budget still can supply a Wastebook author enough material to write a book.

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