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Please take the elevator up to the 10th floor of this beautiful building and walk with me down to the end of the long corridor. Make a short right turn and you will notice a set of double glass doors with the gold-leaf lettering that reads, “Office of Government Waste.We Never Close!”
My desk is way over in the corner near the window. That is right. It is the one that is piled high with loads of paper, envelopes, business cards, You name it, it is there. Please don’t touch anything. I know where everything is. In that pile are some notes that I may use for today’s column, such as…
The Environmental Protection Agency of our great United States gave away $141,000 to fund a Chinese study on swine manure. No! I’m not kidding. A Chinese study. We borrow money from China and then give it back to them. Are we stupid or what?
This wasteful stuff is all over the place and from loads of credible sources. Bernie Goldberg tells us, “We may not have enough money to let little kids from around the country tour the White House, but we have $27 million to fund — ready for this? — pottery classes … in Morocco.”
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is annoyed that $181,000 are being used to fund a program that is studying the effects of cocaine on the reproductive habits of Japanese quail. Please note – that we are talking about Japanese quail here, and not even American quail. The Washington knucklehead bureaucrat that approved that one was probably high, high, high on coke at the time.
David Montoya, the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, tells us about $700 million in missing taxpayer money that Louisiana homeowners were given in the wake of Hurricane Katrina for the purpose of elevating and protecting their homes from future storms. Since 24,000 homeowners received grants of up to $30,000, and very few homes were actually renovated, he was asked where the money went. The inspector general responded with a rather unintelligent, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
And this guy is in charge?
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Here’s more waste:
• $939,771 was spent on a study that concluded male fruit flies are more attracted to younger females more than older ones. Why? Who cares?
• $325,000 was spent for researchers to build a robotic squirrel to test if they are attacked by rattlesnakes the same way real squirrels are. You can file this one under “Why? Why? Why?”
• A whopping $35 million in federal funds will be spent on the construction of an old-fashioned trolly car system that will run on a 2.2 mile line. It may be a very nice tourist attraction, but to build it while the U.S. is deeply in debt is a very bad decision.
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No column on government waste can be complete without at least one comment about food stamps. Improper recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program accounted for $2.5 billion in waste, including one exotic dancer who reported earning $85,000 a year.
Included in that “improper recipients” list are some 2,000 residents of New York and Massachusetts who passed away last year but continued to receive food stamps. Where are they going to use them?
The pile of notes on this subject stands almost 18 inches high and we have hardly cracked half an inch. Oh well. I guess we could look forward to another column on the matter. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net showing you why this Office of Government Waste is never closed.Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.
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