Last month, government waste watchdog, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) released his newest oversight report, Federal Fumbles Vol. 3: 100 Ways The Government Dropped The Ball. The report, which is similar to former Senator Tom Coburn’s Wastebook, lists $473.6 billion in wasteful and inefficient federal spending and provides solutions to each of the examples of government waste.
Perhaps the most outrageous example this year is the $30,000 spent by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) to produce Doggie Hamlet (Yes, that’s actually the production’s name). Doggie Hamlet “includes humans yelling or running toward very confused sheep and dogs,” (video below – it’s hilarious) but does not include any actual lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, nor was it on a stage. Instead, Doggie Hamlet was conducted in a field in New Hampshire, and was described as “a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and movement into an unusual performance event.”
Dogs weren’t the only animals highlighted in the report. Apparently, taxpayers have been paying for retired research chimpanzees to live on the taxpayer’s dime. Since 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent more than $52 million supporting these 139 chimpanzees. According to the report, the NIH “provided $2.6 million in both 2015 and 2016 to operate the NCCC,” even though the NIH announced they would no longer be used for research. Lankford says it is unclear why the NIH has decided to keep the animals, and insists sending them to college would be a better use of the money. “The $2.6 million annual funding for 139 chimpanzees translates to roughly $18,700 per chimp per year, meaning it would likely be cheaper to enroll all 139 chimpanzees in college since that amount would more than pay for tuition, room, and board in many state universities.”
A couple other standouts include a billion dollar San Diego trolley and the IRS hiring numerous employees back after it had fired them. According to the report, “one fired employee was rehired even though his employee file had “DO NOT REHIRE” stamped on it.”
Lankford also pokes fun at himself, highlighting a duplicative study on redheads that spent $1.1 million trying to answer the question “why red-haired individuals are so prone to developing melanoma.” While this study sounds important, researchers only needed to look at their agency’s past work to find the answer. Lankford says the NIH already discovered why redheads are prone to melanoma (copies of a certain gene), but this study “does not appear to bring scientists closer to curing a very aggressive form of cancer.”
With the release of Federal Fumbles Vol. 3, Senator Lankford challenges Congress and the agencies mentioned in it to use it as a starting point to discuss reform and improve government operations. Unfortunately, the federal bureaucracy looks more like Doggie Hamlet than a well-oiled machine.
Want to see what these wasteful expenditures – and many others – could have purchased? Head to our NEW “Meme Generator” and show your friends that irresponsible spending has real world consequences.