Me neither, but somebody in the federal government must have really had a knot in their boxers wanting to know, as last year they spent $592,000 of our money in an effort to find out why.
Why Chimps Throw Poop… And 17 Other Examples of Government Waste
February 22, 2012
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.”
4. 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.”
5. 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.
6. Promiscuous Quail: The National Institute of Health gave the University of Kentucky $176,000 to determine if Japanese quail are more likely to have sex when high on cocaine. The study is scheduled to last through 2015.
7. Happiness is … Social Media: Another National Science Foundation grant for $198,000 paid for a University of California-Riverside study of “motivations, expectations and goal pursuit in social media.” Among the questions the study seeks to answer: “Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?”
16. Chinese Puzzle: The Chinese economy is second only to that of the United States. And China holds billions of dollars in U.S. debt. So the U.S. government sent $17.8 million in aid to China last year to improve the Asian giant’s social services and clean up its environment. That makes sense, right?
You will find the rest of the list here.
And we wonder why we are spinning in the bottom of the financial toilet bowl as a nation, as you can be sure the eighteen things listed here are not even scratching the surface.
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