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Why Chimps Throw Poop… And 17 Other Examples of Government Waste

2012 February 23
by Worldwide Hippies

BY DAVID ZEILER, Associate Editor, Money Morning - Never mind the $15 trillion national debt; the government blew $592,000 on a study last year to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop.

That’s just one example of government waste described in a recent book by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. His “Wastebook 2011″ features 100 examples of needless or ill-advised government spending.

It adds up to $6.9 billion that America can’t afford. And while such waste is just a fraction of the federal government’s $3.8 trillion budget, a country that needs to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spends should not be throwing money away on non-essential research.

Like why chimps throw poop.

Here are 17 other things the government wasted tax dollars on last year:

17 Ways Government Wastes Your Money

  1. Exporting Elmo: The U.S. Agency for International Development provided $10 million to a Pakistani arts organization to adapt “Sesame Street” for Pakistani toddlers. The money will also help pay for the creation of 130 episodes of the show.
  1. Dragon Robots for Preschoolers: The National Science Foundation spent $131,000 on robot dragons designed to mimic human responses to help teach preschoolers language skills. Apparently interaction with real humans was deemed inadequate.
  1. Virtual Mummies: Thanks to a $25,000 federal grant, visitors to the Milwaukee Public Museum will now be able to experience a “3-D high-definition, full-color true holographic or holographic-like exhibit of a virtual mummy unwrapping.”
  1. Dead Man’s Party: Those who complain federal employment benefits are already too generous won’t be pleased to learn that many government workers keep receiving payments long after they’ve died. The Inspector General for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management says “the amount of post-death improper payments is consistently $100-$150 million annually, totaling over $601 million in the last five years.”
  1. Cowboy Poetry: It’s hard to recall John Wayne reciting verse in any of the many Westerns he made, but cowboy poetry is a big enough phenomenon to have its own annual celebration. And this year taxpayers helped pay for it courtesy of a $50,000 contribution from the U.S. government.  Read more…
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