According to a federal waste report dubbed ‘Federal Fumbles,’ the U.S. government found 100 different ways of wasting taxpayer dollars last year alone. The report shows federal government spent about $247 billion on dubious, inefficient grants and programs.
Among those grants, there is at least one that immediately pops into view: $2 million were used to fund a research that found kids don’t enjoy consuming food that’s been sneezed on. A $180,000 grant was awarded to a research team to develop a new way of tagging and counting ducks. Moreover, $500,000 were used for a study to analyze 500-year-old fish bones unearthed in Africa.
The report’s author, Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator James Lankford, published the findings Monday. It is his second report on inefficient federal spending in as many years. This year, he released a list of 100 ineffective ways of using federal money which hurt businesses and individuals.
In a recent news conference, the Republican senator explained such waste is hard to ignore when America is struggling with a $19-and-a-half trillion debt. Lankford hopes his findings may encourage regulators to reduce spending.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that fixing wasteful spending of federal money is a long-term issue. Yet, he hopes his report will be a “starting point” in finding ways of getting America “back towards balance.”
His report also includes an archeological project in Iceland where researchers spent $500,000 to dig up graves and a $55-billion program for the maintenance of inefficient computer systems. Still, another surprising project is a $200,000-per-year grant to the Smithsonian Institute to hire three “beer historians.”
The historians will receive $64,540 per year each to study the impact of beer on America’s history. The federal government already offers over $800,000 million every year to Smithsonian for its various projects and programs.
In the report, the senator criticizes each idea of wasteful spending and comes with suggestions to make programs more efficient and save money.
Nonetheless, Lankford found that not only federal grants and programs can be highly ineffective, regulations too can be part of the problem. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a rule that requires stores which accept food stamps to increase selection of healthy foods. The same rule, however, forces those stores to reduce selection of not-so-healthy foods such as pizza, hot dogs, and fried foods even though customers cannot buy these items with food stamps. If businesses fail to comply, the USDA bars them from accepting food stamps.
Lankford is aware that the federal agency had good intentions when it issued the rule. The goal was to provide food stamp recipients with more healthy alternatives. On the other hand, it is absurd to request such thing from gas stations and convenience stores. As a result, in many rural areas, retailers could turn their backs to food stamps because they are not willing to ditch unhealthy food items or simply have no room for tofu on their shelves.
The report shows that waste and bureaucracy is not a trademark of a particular party. Both Republican and Democrat administrations mindlessly engaged in wasteful spending. Lankford pledged to keep an eye on Trump administration to see if something changes for the better.
You can download the senator’s full Federal Fumbles report on his website.
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