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Wasteful Government Spending 2013: Who Spends $1 Million on a Bus Stop?

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:

  1. 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."
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. And it gets worse…

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  1. Fred | December 25, 2013

    This article (and the Sen. Tom Coburn) ignore nature of human perception. I read decades ago, that the last digit on government comuters (what on ours is $0.01) is 1million bucks. I am sure that decimal point has shifted a few orders of magnitude farther down by now.
    The problem is with perspective — when you are making decisions about something as "trivial" as 1,000,000 bucks, you don't really care. It doesn't even show on you screen.
    I strongly recommend a book by Robert Cialdini, PHD, "Influence", where he explains the comparative values of our perception, i.e. when you are buying a car, a $200 option the dealer suggests doesn't look like much in relation to, say, $40.000 price. But 10 cents on a loaf of bread may sway your choice of brand.

  2. A PARDHA | January 3, 2014

    Good coverage

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