Do you remember that scene from The Jerk, when Steve Martin’s idiotic character is collecting the “bare bones” items he “needs”? “This ashtray is all I need! And this paddle game. This ashtray and this paddle game. That’s all I need! …” That’s sort of what the federal budget talks must have looked like. A new report on the federal budget exposes the embarrassing excesses of our comedically unrestrained civil government:
Among the nearly $30 billion of unnecessary spending that the Oklahoma Republican [Tom Coburn] identified in this year’s “Wastebook” were taxpayer dollars going to buy human urine, to purchase crystal goblets at the State Department, and to pay $18,000 apiece to “pillownauts” — people whom NASA recruited to lie on a bed for two straight months.
Man, I want to be a pillownaut! I guess I could still be one if I could just sign up for welfare. Anyway, all jokes aside, this is ridiculous. The budget deal that Paul Ryan rubber stamped would cut 23 billion from the federal budget over the course of the next ten years. According to Coburn, we could cut 30 billion right now without affecting anything even remotely useful to anyone. Coburn especially zeroes in on defense spending:
“DOD grounded the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, yet still spent $631.4 million to construct aircraft they never intended to fly,” he said.
The biggest item was $7 billion in equipment in Afghanistan that the Pentagon says it will destroy rather than bring home or give away, feeling it doesn’t have a use for the materials in the U.S. and doesn’t want to turn them over to allies.
Mr. Coburn also found $10 million spent by the Army National Guard on Superman movie tie-ins, even as plans were being made to cut the strength of the Guard by 8,000 soldiers.
No wonder the civil government can’t shrink the federal budget. There are just too many important things to cling to: “This human urine, these crystal goblets, this aircraft prototype… That’s all I need!” Meanwhile, their revenue is shrinking every year as businesses suffer from their mismanagement. Way to go this year, guys!