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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.