$Billions of dollars in taxpayer money is considered pocket change in the minds of our feckless government spenders. They never think twice about wasting your money on hundreds of worthless boondoggles year after year. The fact that America is currently $16 trillion in debt never enters their minds.
Why should it? It’s other people’s money.
There exists at least one politician who seems concerned. That would be Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who compiles a periodical survey of government waste. His yearly “Waste Book” is a list of outrageous government expenditures which the Senator blames on a "let them eat caviar" attitude in Washington -- at a time when "23 million of our fellow Americans do not have good jobs."
The U.S. space agency NASA, for example, is busy flushing about $1 million every year down the government toilet on "the Mars menu." Never mind that there won’t be any manned spaceflights to Mars anytime soon, if ever, these space cadets are spending your money now on projects to decide what kinds of foods humans might eat in the far distant future on planet Mars.
The National Science Foundation is shelling out almost $700,000 to a New York-based theater company for the purpose of making a musical production about climate change and biodiversity. "The Great Immensity" opened in Kansas City this year. The musical also allows the audience to experience the exotic taste of "flying monkey poop."
A $325,000 government grant was awarded for the development of "Robo-squirrel" - a robotic rodent designed to test the interaction between rattlesnakes and squirrels.
If it were up to me, I’d redesign the experiment to test close proximity provoked interactions between rattlesnakes and unprotected government bureaucrats. That might prove to be worth the money.
In all, the 2012 Waste Book report details 100 examples totaling nearly $19 billion in government waste which Coburn describes as only snapshots of the bigger government spending problem.
Included are taxpayer funded government subsidies for free cell phone service to some 16,500,000 participants at a cost of nearly $1.5 billion a year.
The book also reveals widespread abuse of the food stamp system. A certain exotic dancer, for example, earned more than $85,000 a year in tips, yet collected nearly $1,000 a month in food stamps while spending $9,000 during that time period on "cosmetic enhancements."
The U.S. government wastes an estimated $70 million every year just on the losses for making pennies. "The cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times its actual value."
That alone tells us that the value of our money these days is no longer worth even half the value of the metal used to make it. Soon our currency won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.
Why is that?
Well … it appears that government Mars menus and musicals have a lot to do with it.