Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Press Release on Gov’t Waste
Report Includes More Than $1.3 Billion in Pet Projects, Frivolous Grants and Other Ridiculous Spending
December 12, 2008
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, today released the oversight report “2008: Worst Waste of the Year.” The look back on 2008 features absurd federal spending from beltway bureaucrats and elected officials. To view the entire report click here.
“As we look back on federal spending for 2008, American taxpayers will laugh, and then cry at how their elected officials spent their hard-earned dollars. Not even these tough economic times have dulled Congress’ ability to find new and creative ways to waste taxpayer dollars,” Dr. Coburn said.
Examples of waste in 2008 include:
• $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam”
• $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs
• $2.4 million for a retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia
• $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 – 8 years early
• $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want
• $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things
• $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis
• $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee
• $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants
“The waste highlighted in this report is only a fraction of the more than $385 billion the federal government throws away every year through waste, fraud and duplication. Yet, each example in this report is a snapshot that tells a larger story, just as the Bridge to Nowhere justifiably became a symbol of the corrupting nature of earmarks. The story the American people already understand is that Congress’ inability to make common sense decisions about spending priorities is putting our children’s future at risk. Until Congress abandons the short-term parochialism that gives us LobsterCams and inflatable alligators, we will never get a handle on the major economic challenges facing this country,” Dr. Coburn said.