Various elements of the government have spent $3 million for research
on video games; $2.6 million to train Chinese prostitutes to drink
responsibly; a whopping $500 million on a program that would, among
other things, try to figure out why five-year-olds “can’t sit still” in
a kindergarten classroom; and grants such as $1.8 million on a “museum
of neon signs” in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There are government programs to fund a space ship to another solar system, funds for
advancements in beef jerky from France, and $6 billion for research to
find out what lessons about democracy and decision-making can be
The government spends $1.7 billion for maintenance on empty buildings
it owns, although some sources put the figure at closer to $25 billion.
The Office of Management and Budget estimates that 55,000 properties
are underutilized or entirely vacant.
Is there no one who cares about this type of thing? No one? Anyone?
It just seems as though Senator Coburn is the only person in government looking for ways to eliminate waste and thus have more funds for important things. Is he the only person who will not look the other way when money is about to be spent in ways that may curtail funds for an organization's main purpose?
It sure looks that way. Why on earth can't others rally around these wasteful use of tax dollars and put the money saved to better use?
Today Senator Coburn sent a letter to Secretary of US Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking if, in accordance with the direction of the Office of Business Management, unnecessary spending on travel and conferences be canceled. The USDA has two agency conferences set for California, neither of which has much relevance to food safety and in fact, one features wine tasting. Which is swell, but not in these times. Use the money for what is supposed to be used for.
Now this is what makes the whole federal budget argument so frustrating. The sequester is affecting people in ways that hurt while federal agencies work to beat the system in ways that are totally unnecessary.
The TSA decided to beat the sequester deadline the end of February and spent 50 million dollars for personnel uniforms. This even appears to be a no bid contract. "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intends to contract using other
than full and open competition for the acquisition of TSA uniform items..." and if you see there are 50,000 TSA employees that 50 million averages out to 1000 dollars a uniform.
That's incredibly wrong use of money which could be better used to keep the more important programs and employees working. How many people could have been saved with 50 million? Lots.
Let's cut through the sequester clutter talk. In simplest terms it means this: This year's federal operating budget was going to get the normal percentage increase. It is a portion of that "raise" that will be seeing the cuts.
As someone somewhere explained, "your parents promised to raise your allowance for 2013, they now have to cut a part of that raise." So in reality things should just go along as they have been going unless each organization or department added the full raise into their own budgets for this year.
Now the administration has begun to back off all its dire predictions of what the sequester would mean. We aren't doomed, we are just not capable of eliminating stupid spending.