A new report sheds more light on just how tax dollars are being
wasted and brings up the question why nothing is ever done to curb
The aptly-titled Wastebook from Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
highlights more than $18 billion in wasteful spending, including a
$325,000 grant for the development of a robotic rodent, designed to
test the interaction between rattlesnakes and squirrels, and $1.5
billion a year to subsidize a free cell phone service. That's on
top of minting pennies that cost two cents to make, while NASA
forks over $1 million annually to develop foods for people to eat
for one day on Mars. Meanwhile, Coburn says Congress is 2012's
biggest waste of taxpayer money.
The annual report from Coburn is being well received, but it is
not the only document of its kind that is issued by members of the
House or Senate. These findings keep coming out -- but the money
keeps getting spent.
Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, says it is
difficult to reduce the wasteful spending precisely because the
problem is so widespread.
"Unfortunately, there are so many items in the federal budget,
so many wasteful activities going on that we might focus on a few
of them for a day and then train our eyes on some other part of the
government, but the spending just keeps piling on and on," he tells
"Plus, there are many interests here in Washington, DC, that
want to keep the federal spending spigot open."
It is a problem that even Coburn admits, saying "all of the
outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible
by either action or lack of action by Congress."
The lawmaker also singles out the Senate Budget Committee for
failing to produce a budget, and the Senate Finance Committee for
failing to provide any major tax code or entitlement legislation
An expert in transportation studies says it was inevitable that
the federal government would launch a new research effort regarding
automated cars, but he won't go so far as to say that it's