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Coburn: Congress Is No. 1 Wasteful Expense

October 17, 2012 by  

Coburn: Congress Is No. 1 Wasteful Expense

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.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Vigilant

    “…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.”

    Do Messrs Rolley and Coburn suggest that Congress should be paid on a piece work basis? Good God! Given the growing intrusive nature of government, I would suggest just the opposite. Reduce their pay/bennies if they produce more than 10 new laws per year.

  • rendarsmith


  • Patriot1776

    To use the number of laws passed as a measure of the productivity of Congress would be disasterous for the citizens. Congress’ pay should be based on the income mode of the United States, that way they would base their decisions on spending on means to increase the income level of their constituents and not on ways to help feed the crony system. The measure of their effectiveness should be in their support for the Constitution and the amount of waste eliminated from the federal government.

    • Stuart Shepherd

      Patriot1776 is so correct. Actually, a MUCH more productive pay scale would be based on how many laws they REPEAL and how many government programs, regulations, beuracracies, departments, and wasteful spending they ELIMINATE. That should be their primary focus- UNDO, not DO!!

      • mamacoop

        Amen! also cut their pensions. Thought they were public servants. I would like to have a pension that equals my out going pay when I retired. Also free health care that is a Cadillac policy. Also cut out former president pensions – they too are public servants. Or better yet all former presidents and congressmen have to be on the equivalent of obamacare. Let them live like the rest of America has had to live the last 31/2 years. Side note – pay raise for SS is going to be about 1.5% while medicare increase is 11%. WOW some pay raise!

  • roger gunderson

    Is there any part of government that is frugal?


    What would be the harm of a continuously updated public record on how our representatives and senators voted on all the bills. because bills tend to be lengthy, a short synopsis would be included as well as reference to add on’s that did not pertain directly to the bills subject. Heaven forbid that we would ask for honesty and clarity from our government.
    God bless America

    • mamacoop

      Let’s make sure no bill is longer than 5 pages, only contain what the bill is about and post for 5 days so we can read it. Then post by state how our congressmen voted and leave it up until after they run again. Term limits for both chambers. Thanks Grampa for your wisdom.

  • Toy

    I like Ron Paul’s effort to get them to read a Bil before they sign it!
    OK, I know that’s asking a lot when they don’t always get the full five days to read it and it may not be available due to necessary technical corrections, that add a few hundred pages, for clarification.
    Value for money? They certainly know what Bills to pass!

  • Jim

    I would say that the Department of Energy is the single most wasteful government program. Started under Carter to make us energy independent and to develop our natural resources while promoting development of renewable energy, it has totally failed on all of it’s mandates. Budgeted at more than 24 billion a year it’s an ineffective bureaucracy we need to eliminate.

    • Steve E

      The DOE was originally created to get the US off of foreign oil. But like most programs that Congress creates, It didn’t work.

  • Warrior

    Seems to me, mittens has a wide variety of areas he can cut out to offset the 5, 6, 7, 8 trillion “revenue” or “investment” that oblama keeps complaining we’ll be losing. Good, start cutting, shaving, deleting now because those “investments” to date just “suck”.

  • peter

    Exactly how will they bankrupt our Country’s future just as long as the printing presses are up and running? That is not possible. The USA has not got a problem., the rest have.

  • http://yahoo bob peters

    you Pendejos forget that the Senate under Harry Reed the traitor has stalled everything congress has proposed..Oh yes,Obamas budget sent to congress that not one Democrat voted for..Quit this phoney BS about congress and look to the senate where the real problem is…The EPA is the most un patriotic org. and has to be abolished along with the dept. of energy and the dept of education …The Patriot Act has to be abolished and the Main Stream Media has to be investigated …Look at CNN with Van Jones as a panelist…What does that tell you?? Communist! I watch all news channels and have to give the most respect to Fox…Yes,Fox…At least Fox gives you the real news….

  • Don Winfield

    The District of Criminals only passed 61 laws. That’s too many. If they had voted to get rid of intrusive laws, fees, and taxes; that would have been a service. As Will Rogers once pointed out, “Be thankful, we’re not getting all of the government we’re paying for.”

    When someone is complaining that not enough laws are being passed, forgive them their lapse into insanity.

    Don Winfield for

  • RichE

    Would you pay someone to keep yourself honest? Should we pay someone to keep congress honest? Should we pay to keep the president honest? Would that someone be the party chairperson?

  • JimH

    If we could just get those robot squirrels, it would all be worth it.(sarcasm, for those who thought I was serious)

    • Steve E

      The only thing that will make the robot squirrels useful is to use them for target practice.

      • JimH

        Hi Steve, We may use the robot squirrels to lure those robot rattlesnakes. I doubt real rattlesnakes would be fooled.

  • Elected4Life

    Once upon a time a lazy congressman cloned himself to get more work done, soon this caught on as Senators starting doing it also. It wasn’t long before this spread like wildfire, only to be discovered that the clones were just as lazy, so nothing got done.

    • ChuckS

      OR they passed twice ass many bad laws.

    • ChuckS

      OOPS – meant “OR they passed twice as many bad laws.”

  • ChuckS

    I think it was Sen Inhofe who said that they’ve identified $400 billion/year in waste and duplication. Let’s start on that now.

    I’d like to see an end to government aid for light and heavy rail and green energy. and DRILL MORE.


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