One would think it nearly impossible to spend $1 million on a lowly bus stop, but with government anything is possible – no matter how absurd.
The extravagant bus stop is just one example of wasteful government spending detailed in the 2013 edition of the "Wastebook," compiled annually by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK.
Coburn's team found $30 billion worth of wasteful government spending this year. While less than 1% of the total $3.8 trillion federal budget, what Congress chooses to fund in the face of massive budget deficits and a $17 trillion debt shows just how lousy they are at prioritizing how taxpayer dollars are spent.
"There is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps," Coburn said. "What's lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally responsible spending bills – possible."
13 Crazy Examples of Wasteful Government Spending
Out of all 100 examples of wasteful government spending this group of 13 really stood out to us:
- What's Love Got to Do With It: The National Endowment of the Humanities has given $914,000 to something called "The Popular Romance Project," the goal of which is to study romance in popular culture and reverse the notion that such works aren't "serious." Among the projects planned is a documentary entitled "Love Between the Covers."
- Tax Breaks for Prostitutes: In Nevada, where prostitution remains legal in 10 counties, the brothels are allowed to use standard business exemptions. That results in $17.5 million in tax breaks annually. Legal deductions include the salaries of the prostitutes and "the cost of promotion." The workers themselves can deduct breast implants, costumes, and the "cost of equipment."
- Ever Heard of the Internet?: The ironically named National Technical Information Service (NTIS) charges other government agencies $50 million a year for paper copies of reports and documents that are freely available on the Internet. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has suggested several times over the past decade that NTIS had been rendered obsolete. Yet this zombie agency lumbers on.
And it gets worse…
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.