Sen. Coburn Releases $18 Billion Waste Report

Tuesday, October 16th 2012, 3:07 pm
By: News 9

It's a report that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars for a robotic squirrel and another bridge to nowhere. Those are just two examples from U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's annual waste report.

The Oklahoma Republican is calling out the federal government for wasting more than $18 billion of our money.

The report highlights 100 expenses that Coburn is calling unnecessary and low-priority projects. It is an attempt to shame Congress, which Coburn says is on pace to have the least productive legislative year since 1947. The report is more than 200 pages long. It is pointing fingers and raising eyebrows.

"It's the government spending that's killing our country," Oklahoma City resident Tracy Camper said.

At the top of the list is Congress itself. The report shows $132 million was spent on Congressional offices in 2012. That's 10 percent of the budget, according to Coburn. Right here in Oklahoma, nearly half a million dollars was dished out for the Lake Murray State Park Airport, which has just one landing per month.

View the entire "Wastebook 2012" report

There is also spending that is literally being called "out of this world." NASA spent nearly $1 million to find out what kind of food humans would eat on Mars.

"I'm in the Air Force, and I see the ridiculous amount of wasted money every day. It's overwhelming," an Air Force employee told News 9.

Most Oklahomans want the belt tightened, and some say it should start with those on top.

"Let them live on 15 bucks an hour for about two years," Camper said. "See how they do; let them see what the real life is out here."

There are others who say anyone in Congress is part of the problem because every member wants a slice of the pie.

"That's all they do," said Oklahoma City resident Marie Herzer. "I think Senator Tom Coburn is wasteful spending."

10/16/2012 Related Story: Sen. Tom Coburn Cites Worst Wastes Of Taxpayer Money In Wastebook 2012

But, no matter the politics, the numbers don't lie. The report found $325,000 spent to build a robot squirrel to study its interaction with rattlesnakes. And, for every penny made, two are wasted. It costs 2.4 cents to make one Lincoln coin. That adds up to $70 million a year.

The $18 billion in the report amounts to about 11 percent of our national debt. Coburn was unavailable Tuesday to offer comment to News 9.