The “Wastebook” is a yearly publication by Senator Tom Coburn, which shares with the public some of the most egregious and laughably stupid expenditures of American tax dollars.
This years contained 100 items, totally around $30 billion.
Here’s my choice for top ten most ridiculous.
#10 – The Million Dollar Bus Stop
Somewhere in Arlington, Virginia there is a bus stop that leaks all over people when it rains, barely has seating for 15 people, but has wi-fi and some of the most beautiful architecture that has ever been seen on a bus stop.
Needless to say the news that 1 million dollars had been spent on a bus stop, that wasn’t practical at all, did not go over well with citizens of the state of Virginia. A hold was placed on building anymore of these monstrosities (that came with a price tag of $904,000 a piece).
#9 – Uncle Sam Looking for Romance on the Web
Nearly $1 million was sunk into this particular study and project conducted by the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH).
To study “romance” in order to “bring new audiences into the conversation about the nature of love, romance, and their expression in novels and popular culture more broadly.”
Basically, if that confused you, the NEH got a lot of money to read erotica. That’s it. That’s what that million dollars boils down too.
Here’s some of the “topics” discussed on their website.
Team Edward or Team Jacob? “Are heroes like Edward romantic or controlling?” ponders
the Popular Romance Project website, referring to the vampire character in the Twilight.
Call Me Maybe: The Popular Romance Project website celebrates Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit
song “Call Me Maybe” as a “fun, flirty invitation to a dreamy crush” and examines how the
song’s video has provokes some “very interesting conversations about contemporary
The Spy Who Loved Me: The romance of British Secret Service Agent James Bond, 007, is
examined by the Popular Romance Project website, noting that “the recurrent death of
romance is fundamental to the 007 franchise. What can popular romance scholars make of
#8 – . Lifestyle Coaching for Senate Staff
$1.9 million dollars to teach life lessons like “Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep” and “Making Subjects and Verbs Agree” that most people with an ounce of intelligence learned in middle school.
These people apparently can’t even cope with their work load without someone to come hold their hand and explain how to communicate effectively with their co-workers, figure out small talk, or classes on how to learn to “forgive.”
#7 – Government Study Finds Out Wives Should Calm Down
You might need some life lessons in communications if you can’t figure this out.
$325,525 to find out:
The researchers observed 82 married couples. “The marriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict,” explained one researcher.
Of course if you actually whip out this study during an argument with your wife, you might end up needing some life lesson seminars on how to sleep comfortably on the couch for a LONG time.
#6 – Environmentally Friendly Coffee Drying Study
$25,000 to the USDA to find out what farmers have known for centuries.
The best way to dry coffee beans is…the sun.
#5 – Parking Center Stuck in Park
This particular project has been stuck for 16 years and has cost the United States tax payer a whopping $50 Million this year alone.
A parking garage that, while finally completed after over a decade, is now unusable because apparently it was not built to code and therefore is “unsafe” to be used.
#4 – Federal Government Spends Millions on Apartments for Deaf Seniors, Then Decides They Can’t Be Used by Deaf Seniors
This one is just over $1.2 million and is right here in my home state of Arizona.
Basically a study was done 8 years ago that showed that deaf people had it bad when it came to the housing and rental market, so an “assisted living” apartment building for the deaf was built. It was built specifically to have special features for the deaf.
Now HUD is telling them they have to only rent 25% of the units to deaf people because it’s discriminatory to not rent to the non-deaf.
Despite the fact that $1.2 million was spent in retrofitting the building for the deaf.
#3 – Yale University Spends Federal Research Grant Studying the Oddity of the Duck Penis
This really kind of speaks for itself.
#2 – Millions Spent Building, Promoting an Insurance Plan Few Want and a Website that Doesn’t Work.
At least $379 million.
This one also rather speaks for itself.
#1 – Anything and Everything Involved with NASA
5 NASA related projects made this years wastebook, totaling up to over 4 million dollars in expenditures.
Why is this the most ridiculous? I mean it certainly isn’t the most expensive of these ten projects, well it might have something to do with the fact that half of them had nothing to do with the purpose of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at all and the rest might have something to do with space exploration…fat lot of good those will do when the funding for space missions is gone.
The projects in this group involve the study of what triggers the migration patters of Christmas Island red crabs, over $100,000 on designing a 3-D printer that can make pizza, a whopping $390,000 on a “green ninja” superhero to teach kids about Global Warming, $3,000,000 on a study to understand the inner workings of Congress, and $360,000 on a couple of people who laid in bed for 2 months (a study that’s been done multiple times over the years.)