‘Most Wasteful Spending’ Report Misses the Point

“It’s not your money!” If I had a chance to stand before Congress and speak to them about government spending, that’s the first thing I would say. It’s easy to spend someone else’s money. It’s easy to loan someone else’s money.

Here’s the next thing I would say. “It doesn’t matter if we can afford a program. The question is, ‘Does the Constitution authorize the expenditure?’”

The Constitution does not allow any spending beyond what is actually written in the Constitution. Most Americans don’t seem to have a problem, for example, with a Federal Department of Education that confiscates billions of dollars from tax payers. There is no provision in the Constitution for such a department. In fact, the word “education” is not in the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment insures that only granted powers are the jurisdiction of the Federal Government: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Simple, direct, and ignored on a daily basis by Congress, the President, the Courts, and the people.

It’s no wonder that Benjamin Franklin stated, “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released “Wastebook 2011” that highlights over $6.5 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted. This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.

“Video games, robot dragons, Christmas trees, and magic museums. This is not a Christmas wish list, these are just some of the ways the federal government spent your tax dollars. Over the past 12 months, politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not absolutely need. Instead of cutting wasteful spending, nearly $2.5 billion was added each day in 2011 to our national debt, which now exceeds $15 trillion,” Dr. Coburn said.

Here are some of the lowlights:

• $75,000 to promote awareness about the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees and poinsettias.

• $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.

• $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.

• $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

• $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.

• $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.

• $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.

• $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.

• $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.

• $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.

This is a valiant effort by Sen. Coburn, but it misses the point and diverts attention away from what really needs to take place. Billions of dollars in cuts are required. Entire programs need to be eliminated.

You can read the entire report here.