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This year's edition – Coburn's fifth and sadly his last as he plans to retire at the end of the current Congressional session – contains $25 billion of the most shocking examples of wasteful government spending.
Coburn says that while the Wastebook accounts for less than 1% of the 2014 federal budget of $3.5 trillion, it makes a larger point.
"The thing is this is not a hard project," Coburn told the Chicago Tribune. "It's pretty easy to find this stuff. I could find you $250 billion, not $25 billion, worth of stupidity."
Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt continues to climb. It's now nearly $17.9 trillion, an increase of nearly $2 trillion just since 2012.
Check out just 13 egregious examples of misused taxpayer dollars from the 2014 Wastebook:
13 Mind-Boggling Examples of Wasteful Government Spending
- What Happens in the Lab, Stays in the Lab: A team of researchers wanted to find out if monkeys share the human belief in winning streaks. So they used a $171,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to come up with a video gambling game the monkeys "would want to play for hours." It's unclear whether the simian subjects were served free drinks. "Luckily, monkeys love to gamble," one researcher said.
- Yeah, That's the Spot: The National Institutes of Health spent $387,000 on a research project in which a group of rabbits got Swedish massages four times a day. The study set out to learn if the massages helped the rabbits recover more quickly after a period of exercise. (They did.) Or the researchers could have just asked any competent athletic trainer.
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.