WASHINGTON (CBSDFW/AP) – A maverick Republican senator has released his annual collection of billions of dollars of government waste, citing examples like faulty missile defenses, unneeded airports and golf course repairs completed on taxpayers’ dollars.
Sen. Tom Coburn’s yearly “Wastebook” cites 100 examples, big and small, of questionable spending like a $347,000 alternative medicine grant to measure the benefits of massage on rabbits or $200,000 to upgrade Ithaca, New York’s SWAT team equipment.
“Laughing classes – we’re paying people to understand – to teach people how to laugh, there’s a lot of serious problems in this country, well maybe the reason people aren’t laughing is because the government’s so inept,” Coburn said.
According to the report one government program spent $190,000 to study compost digested by worms. Another $856,000 went to train mountain lions to walk on treadmills, $10,000 for an Oregon children’s theater production of “Zombie In Love” and $46,000 for a snowmobile competition in Michigan. Also, $414,000 was spent to update an Army video game meant to spur recruitment, a project already more than $25 million over budget.
The Oklahoman also blasts his Mississippi Republican colleagues for forcing funding of a $350 million NASA launch pad tower for a rocket program that was shut down four years ago. The tower was immediately mothballed.
“We should be ashamed that we’re wasting money the way that we are,” Coburn said. “So if we’re watching and we’re holding people accountable, we’ll get better value for the taxes that we pay and we won’t risk the future of our kids.”
Coburn is retiring from Congress this year.
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