Wastebook 2012 Unveils Wasteful Government Spending

Have you ever wondered what would happen if older people played online game World of Warcraft for hours? Do you lie awake at night wonder if gaydar is real or what rattlesnakes would do if confronted with a robotic squirrel? Apparently, the American government does. Today, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his Wastebook 2012, a report outlining wasteful federal policies that cost taxpayers more than $19 billion dollars a year. Some of the things on which our government spends money are truly remarkable.

The National Science Foundation was given $1.2 million for a World of Warcraft study. Adults aged 60-77 were asked to play World of Warcraft for two hours per day for two weeks to see if there were any signs of cognitive improvements. The result? For adults who had already scored well on cognitive testing, there was no improvement. For those with lower initial scores, there were some improvements.

Is gaydar real? The National Science Foundation spent $30,000 flashing photos of gay and straight people for for 50 milliseconds in front of college students. The students were then asked to guess the person’s sexual orientation. The result? Judgements were 60% accurate.

The National Science Foundation is behind the spending again when it comes to “Robosquirrel.” Researchers set out to see what would happen when a rattlesnake was confronted with a taxedermied, robotic version of his prey- a squirrel. The result? Rattlesnakes accepted robosquirrel as real.

Of course, The National Science Foundation wasn’t the only group wasting money.

NASA currently has no manned space fleet or plans for a human space to Mars, but that hasn’t stopped them from planning what they’re going to eat when they do. NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Project spends about $1 million working on the “Mars Menu” every year. This year, researchers at Cornell University and the University of Hawaii were given an additional $947,000 to study the best food for astronauts to eat on Mars. If they ever get there.

The United States Department of Agriculture spent $300,000 this year to promote caviar- at time in which many Americans are struggling to afford basic groceries. Fish Processors of Idaho was given this money in a value-added producer grant to “entice distributors to bring his caviar to the masses.”

These are just a few examples of egregious government waste in 2012. Americans need to stay educated to fight this waste. We don’t need higher taxes, we need lower spending.