December 17-- Something to think about when you pay your taxes for 2013 and vote in 2014.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has released his annual Wastebook, detailing the 100 leading examples of government waste — amounting to $30 billion this year.
The congressional watchdog said that one of the primary offenders for trashing federal money was the disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act website HealthCare.gov, which cost at least $319 million.
Millions more were wasted on ads in various states for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, including a campaign featuring an Elvis impersonator in Colorado, where Wastebook 2013 says only 4,000 people enrolled, one of whom turned out to be a dog named Baxter.
Another big expense went to a football field-sized blimp, called an "unblinking eye," that was supposed to provide nonstop surveillance over an Afghanistan battlefield. But the Army pulled the plug on the project this year after one test flight over New Jersey. The total waste: $297 million.
The Army National Guard was also lambasted for throwing away $10 million on a Superman movie tie-in while plans were being made to cut the strength of the Guard by 8,000 soldiers.
"When it comes to spending your money, those in Washington tend to see no waste, speak no waste, and cut no waste," wrote Coburn, a Republican, in his 167-page report.
He pointed out that although the Department of Defense grounded the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels, it frittered away $634 million "to construct aircraft they never intended to fly."
The Defense Department also destroyed $7 billion worth of usable military equipment rather than selling it or having it shipped home.
Additional Pentagon dollars squandered included $9 million for a reality TV series for the Army and $34 million for a military headquarters in Afghanistan that will never be used.
When it comes to doing nothing and getting paid for it, Coburn says there's no beating the 20 NASA employees who spent 70 days lying in bed with their bodies slightly angled downward, as part of a study to replicate what could happen to astronauts during weightlessness in space. NASA has no plans to send anyone up in space in the near future, so that's another $360,000 down the drain.
The government spent $384,989 on a study of duck penises, $237,205 on research of red crabs, and $390,000 to create a cartoon superhero called "Green Ninja" to teach children about global warming, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
And while the Smithsonian was closing exhibits in Washington, the government was funding the creation of "play zones" at the National Museum of Play, an inventory of toys at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, as well as producing a $150,000 zombie game to help teach kids math.
"Washington has reversed the wisdom of the old cliché that less is needed when less is wasted," Coburn said. "Every branch of government bickered this year over the need to spend more, while continuing to misspend, with an attitude of 'waste more, want more.'"
"These are only a few of the 100 examples of government mismanagement and stupidity included in Wastebook 2013. Collectively these cost more than $30 billion in a year when Washington would have you believe everything that could be done has been done to control unnecessary spending."