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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Waste, It Burns! A Deep Dive into the Pork Book

So I've gone over the waste book. I will take you through the more outrageous spending, indeed I detailed a few in my last post. But sometimes the waste is just incompetence. Take this one:
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wastes $2 million in printing and manufacturing costs annually producing commemorative stamps that must later be destroyed. Several stamps series have been printed so excessively that had every person in the nation sent a piece of mail using them, there still would have been leftovers. 
Now apply this to your job. My company couldn't stay in business with waste like that, how about yours? We do need stamps, but if they are just getting destroyed, that means paper, ink, glue and peoples time all were tossed in the garbage. How about you greenies? The paper means trees and those trees were essentially tossed in the garbage for no reason at all. Economics is all about scarcity of resources, looks like the post office could give a fig about conservation.
As recently as October 2012, a federally funded program to help facilitate the sale of nearly 9,000 homes abandoned after Hurricane Katrina was still holding over 3,000 homes. Over $21.6 million was spent in the last year to maintain the homes and administer the program, with $5.8 million remaining. Since the program’s creation, the federal cost has been over $200 million, much of it coming through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Here's an example of some program getting created and then forgotten. The government is just mindlessly spending $21.6 million every year. Sell them at auction or give them back to the state of Louisiana. Get out of the real estate business. Even if you just get rid of them, no way the loss is more than the $200 million over the last 9 years.
Soon, grandma may have to skip dinner to join her World of Warcraft guild in a dungeon raid. Researchers believe they have found another means to help our memories as we age: the “World of Warcraft,” a fantasy video game featuring characters like orcs, trolls, and warlocks. The team of academics used part of $1.2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation to continue a video game study this year.
Intriguing research to be sure. Do you and I as taxpayers have to flip the $1.2 million for it? Seems excessive. But at least it's there to help people! You rich people would just use the money on your yachts.
The Port of Los Angeles will be spending nearly half a million dollars in energy efficiency funds to upgrade its tour yacht’s engines.  
The Port uses the 73-foot Angelena II to provide tours, lasting 60 to 90 minutes, of the Port of Los Angeles facilities for up to forty guests. The yacht provides several hundred tours a year “to highlight the capabilities of the Port facilities to customers, constituents, public leaders, foreign dignitaries, media and stakeholders.” 
The mayor of Los Angeles insisted, “It’s not a yacht. It’s a boat,” but several boat insurance providers state boats are generally considered to be 26’ or smaller, and yachts are considered to be 27’ or larger.
Oh. Oops. Well that's owned by the city government. At least big business isn't getting anything.
The U.S. Department of Commerce provided $1 million to Ogden City, Utah, to create a “Mobile App Lab.” The “lab” will include a “code shop operated by the Weber State University Research Foundation, a training center, and office space from high-tech start-ups.” Some hope the lab will “inspire entrepreneurs to get creative in their application development.” With the spread of iPhones, tablets, and other portable devices, developers are rushing into the wireless sector in hopes of creating the next big app. Since the start of 2008, more than 30 billion mobile phone apps have been downloaded onto iPhones. At a time of trillion dollar deficits, it makes little sense to spend money in an economically thriving industry and force future generations to fund the next Instagram or Angry Birds. 
Isn't that nice? I should look into that. Wonder if they have anything for blog startups. Probably not if you're conservative. How much more is there? Well lots.

$450,000 - "The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) voted this year to keep a rarely used Lake Murray State Park Airport open simply to land more federal funds. The airport averages just one flight per month, has no planes based there, and is situated mere miles from two more heavily used airports."

$27 million -  Moroccan Pottery Classes. A program that they admit is not going to meet it's goals. "Project managers agreed with the IG’s comments on the pottery training, admitting the training was “ineffective and poorly implemented."

$325,000 -- Robot Squirrels. I kid you not. Robot Squirrels.

$3.3 million -- Bail out yacht tourist business. Again with the yachts.

$2 million -- Fees they automatically pay out to grants that don't exist anymore. Remember, every dollar is absolutely necessary according to the left.

$70 million -- Minting pennies. Because it takes two cents to mint one.

$1.5 billion (with a B) -- Free cell phone service to those who "need" it. This program was less than $100 million as late as 2007.

$516,000 -- Relive Prom Week video game.
Whatever feelings high school prom may elicit, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided taxpayers with a chance to relive the occasion. In 2012, the agency supported the creation of “Prom Week,” a video game simulating all the social interactions of the event. The project used part of a $516,000 grant from NSF.
I find it interesting that the foundation that makes the game is "NSF" which is really close to "NSFW".

$15 million -- Russia uses our funds to pay our scientists to make weapons for them. Yup, you read that right.

$505,000 -- Pet Shampoo. Seriously.

$350,000 -- To see if golfers need a bigger hole. Given our president's love of the sport, I'm calling double-shenanigans on this one.

$520,000 -- A bridge to nowhere. Another one. In Ohio.

$142,000 -- Free bus rides to the Super Bowl. No word on whether the ticket is included.

$697,177 -- A musical about climate change. Don't think it made it to Broadway. Probably because it featured flying monkey poop. No, I'm not kidding.

$388,000 -- For 5 bus shelters. These consist of two poles and a roof. A few lights as well. $78,000 apiece. You can get a house for that in some places.

$75 million -- FEMA would rather build new buildings than try to repair the old ones.

$1.1 million -- Sidewalks on streets that are nowhere near any place anyone would be walking. Ever.

$330 million -- Medicaid will pay for health costs of tax cheats. So if you don't pay your taxes, you still get other people's.

$700,000 -- Pentagon weapons division was tasked to make beef jerky. I don't believe that's a weapon but maybe if they made pork jerky to drop on the taliban....

$12.4 million -- NASA builds a new visitor center just a little ways from the old one. NASA has a lot of entries in the book which is probably why we aren't sending up space shuttles anymore.

$665,000 -- to watch re-runs. I've been doing that for free for years. Where's my check?

$3.2 billion -- Tax credit for college being used by millions who don't go to college. Including prisoners.

So there you go. There's plenty more but that gives you a taste. Try not to throw up.

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