Inside Washington’s Beltway, the legislative “tree trimming” and accompanying waste isn’t limited to Christmas. No, indeed, it’s a perpetual state of mind, as detailed in the report “Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball.”

The analysis by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., doesn’t tell Americans anything new about the federal government’s proclivity to squander money — specifically $247 billion. It simply illustrates that to “drain the swamp,” to borrow that phrase, one first has to shut off the massive pipeline that supplies it. Otherwise the swamp simply replenishes itself.

The many examples cited in Sen. Lankford’s report are as predictable as they are putrid:

–A $2 million study that concludes children don’t like food that’s been sneezed on.

–A $500,000 program that texted people encouraging them not to smoke.

–And a $315,000 study on how court rulings make people feel.

Also tucked into this sack o’plenty was a half-million dollars in federal assistance for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to research new ways to “design a datacenter’s computer network,” The Washington Free Beacon reports — publicly paid research that directly benefits tech giants such as Google, which can afford their own research.

The federal government would be more productive if it had fewer distractions created and perpetuated by wasteful spending.

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(c)2017 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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