On Monday Sen. James Lankford (R-OK )released Federal Fumbles (embedded below) a football-themed report detailing and ridiculing stupid and wasteful federal agency spending ranging from a study of medieval smells to $19.1 billion in improper Medicaid payments.
This annual compilation used to be published by Sen. Tom Coburn. With Coburn’s retirement it has fallen to Lankford. Lankford’s staff searched inspectors general and Government Accountability Office reports to come up with a total in $247 billion in “waste” from 84 spending and 16 regulations fumbles. Lankford, who serves on the Appropriations and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panels, added the snarky photos and rhetoric to mocking the outlandish grants and outdated federal practices.
“This is the way the federal government has dropped the ball, and what we are trying to focus in on, is not trying to pick on one particular agency or entity, but to say we have got to be able to pay attention. We are really dealing with four different main areas as we walk through this; grants that need oversight, regulations and regulators that need oversight, agency bureaucracy and inefficiency, and then a lack of coordination between agencies.
“We are not just trying to raise the problem; we are also trying to raise how you solve it. Whether it is an administration action, whether it is a piece of legislation, whether it is just coordination between the two, or some of those things that have already happened, but we haven’t engaged in it enough to provide the oversight needed to actually get the coordination. Every single one of these identify here is the problem, here is the issue, and here is how to solve it.
“This is not a comprehensive book; this is not trying to list everything in the federal government where there is an issue. We are trying to find some key areas that we can identify, and say here are some problems we have seen, and some things that we find as common ground solutions. This builds on last year’s book.
“We have got duplication issues. We have got problems that are around federal foreign aid, which has been an ongoing issue that we have made recommendations on. When we deal with foreign aid, we should simply deal with foreign aid that is to the benefit of the United States. We don’t think that is an unreasonable request. Instead, at times, we deal with foreign aid, like studying fish bones in Tanzania.”
Some of the worst programs (or best depending on your perspective) include:
The NSF spent $200,000 to study “fish bone and ceramic fragments from a selection of households representing diverse levels of social standing to understand how the consumption of food “reveals the social interactions and constructions of meaning associated with past daily practices that formed the fabric of a society” in Tanzania 500 years ago. This one is too stupid to make fun of.
The USDA gave $250,000 to Sunsweet, a privately owned cooperative which has revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, to help them to market a new prune supplement. This one makes me sick to my stomach (so do prunes).
Those are just some of the stupid government tricks exposed by Lankford in his federal fumbles report which you can read below. Try not to have food in your mouth when you read it because you will be spitting mad!
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