By Erik Wasson - 12/17/13 08:00 AM EST
A $300 million Army “megablimp,” space pizza and the ObamaCare website top this year’s “Wastebook” of the worst examples of wasteful spending by the government.
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) list, out Tuesday, criticizes the government for spending $319 million on the botched HealthCare.gov site and $400 million to pay some furloughed workers who stayed home during the government shutdown.
The failed ObamaCare site, paying “nonessential” workers who make more than $100,000 per year for staying at home during the government shutdown and the megablimp are among the biggest ticket items in Coburn’s book.
Coburn argues the waste shows that it should have been easy to find ways to replace the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.
“Collectively these cost more than $30 billion in a year when Washington would have you believe everything that could be done has been done to control unnecessary spending,” Coburn wrote in the list’s introduction. “Had just these 100 been eliminated, the sequester amount would have been reduced nearly a third without any noticeable disruption.”
The Wastebook points out that this year, the Obama administration blamed budget shortfalls for causing a security lapse that led the death of the ambassador to Libya in the Benghazi attack. But the State Department turned around and spent “$704,198 on gardening and landscaping services at the 28-acre Brussels home of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO.”
NASA spent $124,955 to develop pizza that can be printed on a 3-D printer. It already pays Lockheed Martin $1 million a year to develop food for a Mars mission that isn't happening for several decades.
The space agency also spent $390,000 to develop a “green ninja” cartoon character to promote climate change; $360,000 on “pillownauts” that lay in bed for 70 days and $3 million on a mission to study the inner workings of Congress.
The FBI spent $1.5 million to help Hollywood accurately depict the agency.
The State Department spent $630,000 to buy “likes” on Facebook.
The National Endowment for the Arts spent $10,000 on a pole-dancing performance art project in Austin.
Arlington, Va., used federal money to build a $1 million bus stop that does not actually shield passengers from the weather.
The National Guard spent $10 million on tie-ins for the latest Superman movie to support recruiting efforts.
The National Science Foundation approved a $251,525 grant to study the Senate filibuster.
The Internal Revenue Service granted 19 Nevada brothels standard business tax deductions for expenses including breast implants and sex toys.
The USDA subsidizes beachfront home-owning in Hawaii to the tune to $500 million under a program meant to aid rural areas.