My favorite examples of government waste
- Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them--costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually--fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.
A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.
The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year's 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.
The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes
The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland
Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines--plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.
More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.
Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, "Girls Gone Wild" videos, and at least one sex change operation
Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737
Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches--even as this new sand washes back into the ocean
The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable
Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes
The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use
Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use
Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers--the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans
Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia
Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education
The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land
The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing personal data