100 Ways Uncle Sam Dropped the Economic Ball

Federal spending ranging from a $48,500 grant to study tobacco use in Russia to $5 billion in fraudulent income tax returns are detailed in U.S. Sen. James Lankford's report on government expenditures.
Federal spending ranging from a $48,500 grant to study tobacco use in Russia to $5 billion in fraudulent income tax returns are detailed in U.S. Sen. James Lankford's report on government expenditures. (Reuters)

Federal spending ranging from a $48,500 grant to study tobacco use in Russia to $5 billion in fraudulent income tax returns are detailed in U.S. Sen. James Lankford's report on government expenditures.

The 145-page report, which was released Monday, is titled Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball.

We've compiled a list of the top 10 examples of wasteful government spending:

  1. The Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations spent $43 million to build a compressed natural gas station in Afghanistan. Not only was the station rarely used, it is no longer in operation. (page 9)
  2. The National Institutes of Health has spent $2.6 million on a weight-loss program for truck drivers. (page 17)
  3. This fiscal year, the National Science Foundation is spending nearly $375,000 to study the dating habits of senior adults. (page 77) ­
  4. The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $683,000 on art-related programs, including funding for silent adaptations of Shakespeare's Hamlet. (page 10)
  5. Due to the IRS's failure to maintain accurate death records, the Social Security Administration believes that millions of Americans are alive who have actually passed away. (page 83)
  6. The Department of Agriculture's inflexible and unnecessarily burdensome regulations for llama owners and their businesses have put some of them out of business. (page 28)
  7. Over the last two years, the Department of Defense has spent about $4 million per Syrian (rebel) to train them to fight against ISIS. (page 21)
  8. The Department of Agriculture will spend $100 million to subsidize corn-ethanol gasoline research, even though there is no market demand for the product. (page 113) ­
  9. Thousands of Americans incorrectly receive both Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance. Fixing this could save $5.7 billion over 10 years. (page 56) ­
  10. This year, the Department of Defense is spending $283,500 to study the day-to-day activities of the gnatcatcher, a very small woodland bird. (page 19)

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