Senator Tom Coburn has a pet project. It’s called Wastebook, Mr. Coburn is sadly retiring at the end of this year (read The Doctor is Out), and the 239-page Wastebook he is releasing this week will be his final as senator.
Leading this year’s edition is $19 million in salaries that the government paid to workers who were suspended from their jobs, usually because of misconduct that would have resulted in outright firing at a private company. Other highlights include the $50,000 spent to study whether sea monkeys’ swimming changes the flow of oceans, $450,000 that the Homeland Security Department spent on high-end gym memberships for staffers whose federal health insurance already pays for gym benefits and the increasing number of veterans who get disability payments by claiming sleep apnea at a cost Mr. Coburn said could reach $1.2 billion.
All told, Mr. Coburn identifies $25 billion in waste from the 100 projects.
As the Washington Times notes, many lawmakers talk about ending government waste, but Mr. Coburn actually does something about it. His staffers wade through newspapers and government websites to uncover “tens of billions of dollars in pork, boondoggles and extravagance that have contributed to the government’s trillions of dollars of debt.” Read more here on how Mr. Coburn’s Wastebook provides the framework on how badly government can go off the rails in its spending decisions.