Dear Readers: 2011 has come and gone, and for at least 47 percent of Americans it will be painless come tax time. For the rest of us who will experience some pain, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has released his annual "Wastebook" to remind us how excruciatingly wasteful our government is.
Despite Coburn's evidence of government irresponsibility, the tea party continues to be labeled as radical or clueless for wanting to rein in government spending. With that in mind, even the squishiest liberals shouldn't be able to justify the following expenditures, but I'm sure they'll try -- and China loves them for it.
-- $147,000 for the American Magic Museum in Michigan. Please excuse the bad metaphor, but Congress makes money disappear faster than Houdini escaping a straitjacket. If we're going to spend the money, at least put this museum where it belongs -- next to the Capitol.
-- $48,700 for the 2nd Annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival. As if Hawaii needed another reason to attract tourists. Maybe the president has a large sweet tooth to fill while he vacations in the Aloha State.
-- $175,000 to the University of Kentucky to study the effects of cocaine on the sex drive of Japanese quail. First of all, how do the birds get the coke up their beaks? Second of all, what the heck does this have to do with anything remotely constitutional? Then again, maybe the ornithological lobby is pretty powerful.
-- $50,000 to support the Oregon Cheese Trail. I'm sorry, but I thought a cheese trail is what lobbyists follow to Washington, D.C.
-- $150,000 to develop a "Rapid Guppy" cellphone game app. There are already thousands of popular cellphone apps available from the private sector. Leave it to the federal government to waste money on an app that chronicles the growth and evolution of a guppy. I can see the kids lining up already.
-- $765,000 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking. As the father of a college student, I'll give our government a simple "Duuuuuuh!" Who needs a study -- just ask the marketing departments of Apple, Facebook and Google.
-- $1.35 million for Entrepreneurship training in Barbados. Let me get this straight: Our government has done so well creating jobs that it wants to spread this knowledge to other countries? Well, if you're going to fail, you might as well fail in paradise.
-- $62,000 to support wine conferences. Isn't that just another name for the Occupy Wall Street movement?
-- $55,000 to study Jordanian student hookah smoking. This money would be better spent researching what Congress smokes in its water pipes.
-- $300,000 to explain the origins of the universe through dance. I'll support this expenditure as long as Washington politicians are required to explain legislation through interpretive dance, as well. Just picture Barney Frank and John Boehner square dancing to explain the need for a debt ceiling hike. If they're going to waste our money, let's at least be entertained.
-- $606,000 to Columbia University in New York City to study how using the Internet affects sexual behavior. Wait a minute, isn't New York City where disgraced Rep. Anthony Wiener is from? I'm just saying.
-- $120 million in benefits checks to deceased former federal employees. This one doesn't really bother me because many of the dead former employees might actually be more productive than some of the current federal employees -- namely, those in Washington.
Have a happy and prosperous 2012.
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