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6 worst examples of government waste

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What better time than the week before tax day to take a look at just what the government is doing with the money they collect? Many state governments are taking in record high revenues and federal coffers are looking good as well. But with all this money coming in we are still racking up debt at the rate of a $ trillion a year. Taxes are a necessary evil; the government needs a way to raise cash to pay for the vital services like defense, law enforcement and basic business regulations. Most people understand this and don’t mind paying their share. Although there are other methods of raising revenue besides the income tax, this is what we got so we will go with it.

The problem of course is that the government is spending (wasting) money on all kinds of things from redundant ineffective social programs to corporate bailouts. If the government is collecting record amounts of our money, and still it's not enough to cover the record high spending, which is leading to record high debt, there is a problem. This list is comprised of just the 6 examples which to me, because of the nature of the expenditure or the sheer inefficiencies involved, stand out as the worst. I encourage you to go to the 2013 Wastebook and look at the rest.

Blinding solar panels
Blinding solar panels Mark Kolbe/Getty Images for the World Solar Challenge

Blinding solar panels

Covering Solar Panels (FAA) 3.2 million

Manchester-Boston Airport in New Hampshire got a federal grant 18 months ago to install new solar panels.   Unfortunately for a few hours each day the glare from the new panels blinds pilots approaching the airport.  This creates a very dangerous situation, pilots needing to see and all that.  So now you are spending another $3.5 million to cover the new solar panels you just spent millions installing.

Couples Therapy?
Couples Therapy? William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Couples Therapy?

Government Study Finds Out Wives Should Calm Down (NIH) $325,525

The National Institute of Health spent $325,525 on a study to conclude that women would be happier in their marriages if they learned to calm down faster after argument.  This is something every man has known since forever, but no smart man would ever tell his wife or girlfriend.

Give us some love
Give us some love Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Give us some love

Uncle Sam is looking for love (NEH) $914,000

You the taxpayer have given over $1 million to the Popular Romance Project since 2010.  The National Endowment for the Humanities says the goal of the project is to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective—while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”  So the feds are funding a fan club for bodice rippers, got it!

Does NASA even fly anymore?
Does NASA even fly anymore? Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

Does NASA even fly anymore?

NASA and the Green Ninja (NASA) $390,000

Since they don’t do space anymore NASA needed a new mission.  Naturally the best use of money and resources from an agency dedicated to space exploration is a series of YouTube videos staring a green ninja teaching kids about global warming.  At least they finally found little green men.

At what cost Obamacare?
At what cost Obamacare? Win McNamee/Getty Images

At what cost Obamacare?

Obamacare  (DHHS) Nobody has a clue but somewhere between $400 million and $2 trillion

The actual spending mandated by the law is just the beginning.  There is also the cost of implementation, of building the website and the entire back end infrastructure.  Then the cost of fixing the website and the back end infrastructure and then fixing the fix to the fix for…well you get it.  On top of that the feds spent at least a few hundred million or so promoting the law, selling the law, on marketing campaigns and promotional appearances.  At this point the president is the highest paid insurance salesman in the world.  Given the sign up numbers we spent an awful lot of money and only less than 2% of the population saw a net benefit.  Whatever you think of the intentions, that is a terrible ROI.

The Air Force boneyard
The Air Force boneyard Photo by USAF

The Air Force boneyard

Building new scrap planes (USAF) $432 million

This one takes the cake for me just due to the implications of all that had to happen for this money to have been wasted.  The DoD is spending millions building new cargo planes the air force doesn't want and said planes are being shipped immediately from the assembly line to a desert bone yard where surplus equipment is held in storage for future use, or eventual scrap. 

Literally you could eliminate the middle man and just burn your money to accomplish the same effect.  The problem is that the plane was far enough along in the procurement process that it's actually cheaper to build the planes and immediately junk them, than it would be to cancel the contract.  That tells me everything I need to know about waste in defense contracting.