Senator Lankford: Grape Waste Leads to Fund Raisin

Barb Wire

Who says Christmas only comes once a year? According to Senator James Lankford (R-Okla), taxpayers have been giving all year long. They just didn’t know it! And now thanks to his new “Wastebook,” Americans are finding out just how generous they were forced to be. Taking the handoff from long-time waste-watcher Senator Tom Coburn, Lankford’s new “Federal Fumbles” tackles pricy projects that cheated taxpayers in 2015. As always, this year’s top 100 projects will have you laughing at someone’s expense — yours!

With $105 billion in federal idiocy, Congress had better get spending under control or the government’s mineral program (p. 33) won’t be the only thing hitting rock bottom. Under the Obama administration, there are plenty of raisins to be upset (p. 66) — not the least of which is the $59 million we’re shelling out to protect turtles (p. 55). Of course, that’s nothing compared to the $67.9 million the Bureau of Land Management is ponying up to handle wild horses (p. 35) despite all the neigh-sayers!

The Department of Energy made a last dish effort to clean up spending with appliance regulations (p. 16), but with Transportation’s $820 million in bike trails, conservatives couldn’t back-pedal fast enough. While immigration officials look for a safe haven for criminals (try the Obama administration!), the State Department’s $545,000 “truth-telling” consultants (p. 25) had their hands full with Hillary Clinton.

That had about as many people cheering as the $542 million in stadium subsidies or the $30,000 that the Department of the Interior spent on beetles (not, as Lankford points out, the Volkswagen kind). Meanwhile, the National Park Service blew $5,000 on a violin documentary, so that someone could actually fiddle while Washington burns p. 69. And what do you do when life hands you Yemens? Make Yemen-aid! That’s the excuse for $48 million in unshipped military supplies for the Arab nation (p. 29). If you think that’s ineffective, try the $250,000,000 we spent training 60 rebels to fight ISIS (now that’s Syria-ous money).

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At another agency, they’re reinstating the draught with $35,000 in solar beer (p. 62), which beats the tar out of the $48,500 study on Russian tobacco (or as I like to call it, Sputnik-otine). Just say nyet! Over at the National Park Service, officials cashed in $65,473 (p. 44) to find out what happens to bugs when the lights go out. (You mean they don’t just buy flashlights like the rest of us?)

And believe it or not, the Sixth Sense isn’t the only thing seeing dead people. So is the IRS (p. 83). With billions of dollars in fraudulent payments, it’s time to take the path of deceased resistance. That will be easier now, with Republicans like Lankford in control. As he said, the point of this report is to show “ways we can cut back on wasteful federal spending and burdensome regulations to help families, small businesses, and our economy begin to get out from under the weight of federal stagnation.”

Members need to put Washington on a diet — and not the $2,658,929 truck-driver kind (p. 17). Otherwise, the Agency for International Development won’t need to spend $335 million to see who’s wasting power (p. 73). It’ll be obvious: Congress!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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