Coburn: Congress Is No. 1 Wasteful Expense
October 17, 2012 by Sam Rolley
What is the biggest Federal waste of taxpayer money? According to budget hawk Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in his annual “Wastebook,” taxpayers are getting ripped off by employing an ineffective Congress.
Coburn notes in his annual list of wasteful government spending that the current Congress is on track to be the least productive that it has been since 1947, approving only 61 laws this year. He suggests that, as a result, Congress’ $1.32 billion budget for member, leadership and committee offices should be cut by 10 percent.
In “Wastebook,” Coburn writes:
Whether it was failing to hold oversight hearings, pass laws, cut unnecessary spending, or simply cast votes on amendments, the U.S. Congress let taxpayers down in 2012. In fact, many high school student councils have been more deliberative than the U.S. Senate.
All that follows in this report can be traced right back to what Congress has and has not done. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution entrusts Congress with the responsibility to approve how money is spent out of the Treasury and to account for such expenditures. Congress approved every cent spent to fund the projects outlined in this report and did nothing to stop any of these expenditures. In fact, in many cases members of Congress actually took credit for the projects with no shame. All of the outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible by either the action or lack of action of Congress, earning it the well-deserved but unwanted distinction as the biggest waste of taxpayer money in 2012.
Other examples of government wasteful spending include money spent to encourage caviar eating, tax breaks for the National Football League and other professional sports, rules that allow people to use food stamps for alcohol, a NASA program to make pizza to eat on Mars, and a $325,000 grant to produce a robot squirrel designed to lure rattlesnakes.
“As you look at these examples, put your personal political persuasion aside and ask yourself: Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt our nation’s future?” Coburn asks.
Read the full report here.