Ridiculous Gov't. Spending List Grows Longer

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WASHINGTON -- The list of wasteful spending by the federal government in Washington, D.C., grows ever longer.

A recent report released by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., gives a hundred examples from just last year.

Like the $120 million for federal retirement benefits to retirees who are already dead. Patrick Knudsen, The Heritage Foundation's senior federal budget expert, pointed showed CBN News a recent example.

"After a retiree had died, his son continued cashing his checks for 37 years. And it didn't stop until 2008 when the son himself died," he said.

Other examples of wasteful spending:

  • More federal funding in the amount of $593,000 went to a primate research center to study where in chimpanzees' brains they get the idea to throw their feces.
  • A Virginia university received $55,000 to study Jordanian students' water pipe smoking habits.
  • A new grant of $176,000 joined $350,000 already spent to study how cocaine hurts or helps the sex drive of Japanese quail.

While some people complain about government cuts, Leslie Paige, media director for Citizens Against Government Waste, said hardly any government program is rarely downsized.

"We never cut anything. There's hardly ever anything cut. In fact, the budget goes up by five percent and we're still spending money on junk like this," she said.

More examples:

  • A museum of magic received $147,000 to study the audiences of magic shows.
  • More than $550,000 of U.S. taxes went to the production of a documentary on how rock bands contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire.

"Now I might actually be interested in that. I'd like to know which groups did the most to bring down the evil empire. I just don't think the federal government needs to be spending money on this," Knudsen said.

Paige said such profligate spending, magnified by many billions, could cause America's downfall.

"We're $15.3 trillion in debt, and we're giving money to people to study the collapse of the Soviet Union. I mean I think it's so ironic," she pointed out.

A television production of a Pakistani version of PBS' "Sesame Street" has already cost tax payers $10 million and $20 million more has already been budgeted.

"For all we know, this is the CIA sending coded messages to its operatives through Bert and Ernie," Knudsen said.

IPad 2s were purchased for $96,000 for students in Maine, where 96 percent of their parents said the cost wasn't worth it.

Nevada's Western Folklife Center received $50,000 for cowboys and cowgirls to gather once a year to recite cowboy poetry.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a native of the Silver State, expressed his anger when the House of Representatives tried to cut it.

"I thought Sen. Reid might not live in Nevada. I thought he might live on Mars at that point," Paige said. 

"Because I could not believe we were living in the same reality, that this is so important to him that he's willing to spend that kind of federal dollars on the poetry festival when we're facing a $15.5 trillion debt."

"There's just is a culture of spending in Congress," Knudson explained.

"They don't want to have to say, 'no.' Their vocabulary is all about 'yes,'" Paige pointed out.

"And they think there's all this free money around and if they don't grab it, somebody else will," Knudson said.

And every day, the federal government continues to add $2.5 billion more to the national debt.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.