Taxpayer Dollars at Work

by Katrina Trinko

Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) released today his annual Wastebook, which details lavish government funding on obscure projects.

“As you look at these examples, ask yourself: at a time when we are borrowing over $44,000 for every person in the country, are these items a priority and are they a federal responsibility?” writes Coburn in the introduction, adding that the cost of the 100 projects he highlights totals over $11.5 billion. Here’s some of the “best” taxpayer-funded items:

— $1.8 million to the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum, which collects and displays discarded neon Las Vegas signs.

— $2.9 million to a group of professors at University of California-Irvine for research on internet games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life and how, according to the university’s press release, they “can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.”

— $239,100 to Stanford University for a study on how people date and find love online.

— $137,530 to a Dartmouth professor Mary Flanagan to make, according to Wastebook, a “video game called ‘Layoff,’ a puzzle-style game in which players fire as many people as they can as quickly as possible.”

— $150,000 to the Vermont town of Monkton to erect signs warning drivers to look out for salamanders crossing the road.

— $47.6 million to Atlanta, Georgia to build a streetcar system — on the exact same route as an existing subway system.

Read about the rest of the projects here.

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