U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has released his report highlighting what he says are the worst examples of wasted of taxpayer dollars.
"Wastebook 2012" cites more than $18 billion spent on what the senator calls "unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects" throughout the federal government.
"The problem in Washington is politicians are very specific about what we should fund but not specific about what we should cut," said Sen. Coburn. "As a result, we are chasing robotic squirrels and countless other low-priority projects over a fiscal cliff."
Examples in "Wastebook 2012" include:
• Tax loopholes for the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL) and Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) – professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits ($91 million in taxes)
• Moroccan pottery classes (part of a $27 million grant from U.S. Agency for International Development)
• Efforts to promote caviar consumption and production ($300,000)
• Robotic squirrel named "RoboSquirrel" (part of a $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation)
• Promotion of specialty shampoo and other beauty products for cats and dogs ($505,000)