Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) has again issued his annual “Wastebook” containing 100 of the dumbest uses of taxpayers’ money:
- the National Endowment for the Humanities devoted almost $1 million to the Popular Romance Project to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”
- The National Science Foundation spent a quarter of a million dollars to study “attitudes toward the Senate filibuster among the American public.”
- The Army spent nearly $300 million on a blimp for surveillance in Afghanistan—only to drop the project after its inaugural U.S. flight, selling the airship back to its maker for $301,000.
- The International Trade Association devoted nearly $300,000 to send Indi Rock music executives on a tour to Brazil.
- The National Institutes for Health dropped $335,525 on a study which determined that “marriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict.”
- The $1.9 million Senate Office of Education and Training provides classes for staffers on such subjects as sleeping well and making small talk.
- The National Endowment for the Arts used $10,000 to underwrite the PowerUP Project, which featured choreographed (utility) pole dancing.
- Housing and Urban Development used $1.2 million to create an apartment designed for the deaf in Tempe, Arizona, only to then decide that three-quarters of the residences should be occupied by people with normal hearing.
- The Agriculture Department gave an Oklahoma winery $200,000 to purchase new equipment.
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services gave a New York museum $150,000 to create an exhibit on play.
- NSF spent $2.9 million to create sites “where arts and science will be used to educate the public about Indianapolis’s water system.”
- The Commerce Department provided Las Vegas with $800,000 to think about economic development.
- The U.S. Marshals Service dropped nearly $800,000 on promotional “swag,” including Christmas ornaments.