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Most Idiotic Government Spending 2013

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) You think the Obamacare website was a prime example of wasteful government spending? It's just an appetizer in a buffet of budget busters, according to U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla), who has released his annual report of out of control Washington spending -- and the 100 examples included in "Wastebook 2013" total some $30 billion.

"While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration's impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress," says Coburn.

The report lists examples of the squandering of taxpayer dollars and includes:

  • As the U.S. war effort in the Middle East winds down, the military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment. The military has decided that it will simply scuttle more than $7 billion worth of equipment rather than sell it or ship it back to the U.S.
  • Despite earning more than $1 billion in U.S. pretax profits last year, social-media giant Facebook reported a combined $429 million refund from its federal and state tax returns.
  • The Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration says the IRS paid up to $13.6 billion in false claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2012. That's over one-quarter (28%) of all EITC payments.
  • Hoping to increase its reach with an international audience, the State Department spent $630,000 "buying fans" for its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Since 2007, the U.S. Air Force has purchased 21 C-27J Spartans at a cost of $631.4 million. In August 2012, a former Air Force Chief of Staff testified before Congress that the Air Force did not want to acquire more C-27Js. Yet despite knowing the planes would never be used, Congress continued to fund their production. The Air Force has mothballed the brand new, never flown C-27Js at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona -- 16 new C-27Js were delivered in September with an additional five on the way in 2014. The report says 4,400 unused aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles from the DOD and NASA have been benched, with a total value of more than $35 billion.

"The nearly $30 billion in questionable and lower-priority spending in Wastebook 2013 is a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement," says Coburn.

The entire report can be accessed here.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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