The latest budget deal, passed by a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate, suggests that Washington agrees with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) when she said that “the cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make.”
The cupboard, however, is overflowing with liquor, crystal glassware, and more.
Here is our list of the top 10 examples of wasteful government spending this year, serving as a reminder that there is no shortage of excessive spending in Washington.
10. Outhouse in Alaska: $98,670. The Interior Department spent nearly $100,000 to install an outhouse on an Alaskan trail, which includes a single toilet with no internal plumbing.
9. A bus stop with heated pavement for the Washington area: $1 million. A lavish bus stop with heated pavement was built in Arlington, VA, but it has failed to keep commuters warm or dry.
8. Grant for a pole dancing performance: $10,000. Utility poles, that is. The National Endowment for the Arts provided a grant to PowerUP for Austin Energy employees to perform an artsy dance with 20 utility poles, accompanied by a live orchestra.
7. Pizza — from a printer: $124,995. NASA gave a six-figure grant to a company that aspires to make pizza from a 3-D printer.
6. Study to find out if couples are happier when the woman calms down after argument: $335,525. “[M]arriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict,” found a study of 81 couples funded by the National Institutes of Health.
5. Booze and crystal for the State Department: $5.4 million. The State Department went on a bender the week before the government shutdown, purchasing $5 million of “exquisite” crystal glassware to presumably drink the $400,000 in booze they purchased in 2013.
3. Seven-figure stack of rocks at the London Embassy: $1 million. The American Embassy in London will be receiving a granite sculpture from an artist “whose work resembles stacked piles of paving stones,” according to the Daily Mail.
2. Artwork for Veterans Affairs offices: $562,000. The Department of Veterans Affairs went on a spending spree during “use it or lose it” season, purchasing over half a million in artwork and millions in furniture in a single week.
1. Government employee trip to luxury hotel in the Caribbean: priceless. Federal employees took a taxpayer-funded trip to the Buccaneer Hotel in St. Croix—the same hotel made famous on TV’s “The Bachelor.” The bill was divided among a number of agencies, making a final tally difficult to come by.
A Super Bowl champion Obamacare campaign: $130,000. The Baltimore Ravens were paid $130,000 in taxpayer money to sponsor the Affordable Care Act.
An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Americans thinks that Congress can find more ways to cut government spending, and there are numerous programs of questionable value that Congress should eliminate.
America did not end up $17 trillion in debt overnight. Congressional refusal to cut spending and prioritize taxpayer money more appropriately year after year got the nation to this point. Congress will have another opportunity before January 15, when considering the 2014 spending bill, to do better. Fiscal restraint is long overdue.
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