Sen. Coburn report bares $30 billion in wasteful government spending

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) on Tuesday released a report listing wasted government spending this year amounting to $30 billion.

Among the questionable projects the government funded was the $7 billion destruction of more than 170 million pounds of military vehicles and equipment used in the Afghanistan war, the annual report called “Wastebook” bared. Pentagon chose to destroy the equipment rather than sell it or ship it back home, the report said.

The 177-page report questioned $3.5 billion paid to federal employees who have been identified as tax cheats; nearly $1.5 billion to keep the lights on in unused or underutilized federal buildings; the Department of Defense’s scrapped $631.4 million project to build a battlefield blimp that didn’t work, $400 million paid to government workers to do nothing during the government shutdown; $379 million the Department of Health and Human Services spent on building and promoting the Healthcare.gov that didn’t work; $65 million of Hurricane Sandy emergency relief money that New York and New Jersey spent on television ads promoting tourism; $10 million spent by the Army National Guard on Superman movie tie-ins; and $3 million NASA spent on seminars on how Congress works. The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire also spent $3.5 million to build solar panels in a parking garage but a quarter of which had to be covered by tarp because its glare blinds air traffic controllers from seeing the runways.

The Wastebook list also includes the State Department’s spending of $5 million for new hand-blown crystal stemware just days before the government shutdown in October; $1.5 million spent by the FBI to review Hollywood producers and writers on how to portray the agency in movies; $278,000 in military benefits paid to Fort Hood shooter Major Nadal Hasan because he is yet to be suspended under the Military Code of Justice.

Coburn told CBS News he has been putting the book out in the last five or six years but his Republican and Democrat colleagues are not paying attention to it.

The report was released as the Senate voted 67-33 to end debate on a two-year bipartisan budget deal. The deal approved in a landslide House vote last week goes for final Senate voting on Wednesday. It sets the 2013 and 2014 budgets to more than $1 trillion by eliminating the $63 billion automatic spending cuts called sequester and offsetting the amount by reducing federal employee retirement benefits by $6 billion and military retiree benefits by $6 billion, increasing airline security fees from $2.50 to $5.60 per ticket, cutting Medicare fees by $28 billion in, using revenue from new oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and collection of higher premiums on government-backed private sector pensions.

 

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