Tag: waste

If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money…

If You Think Solyndra Was A Waste Of Money… – Investors Business Daily


Energy: There’s no shortage of points to pick apart in the president’s final State of the Union, as we’ve done above. But one deserves close scrutiny: Obama’s claim that he “reinvented our energy sector.”

In the middle of a lengthy section of a speech spent patting himself on the back, Obama talked about how successful his energy policies have been.

“Listen,” he said, “seven years ago we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.” Then he went on to list “the results”:

Wind power is cheaper, solar panels are a fixture on more rooftops, oil imports dropped by almost 60% and “we cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.” And then he added, to self-satisfied chuckles on the Democratic side of the aisle: “Gas under 2 bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

But up until very recently, Obama was telling the country that low gas prices were an impossibility. “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” was his mantra for years. He was emphatic about it.

“Anyone who says we can drill our way out of this problem does not know what they are talking about, or does not know the truth,” he said at a 2012 event in New Hampshire.

The reason, he said, was that we use 25% of the world’s energy but have just 3% of the oil reserves. So the only solution was mandatory conservation and spending billions on the “energy of the future.”

Turns out it was Obama who didn’t know what he was talking about. We did, in fact, “drill our way” to lower gas prices. Thanks to fracking, oil companies are now able to produce vast amounts of previously unrecoverable oil.

In the past seven years, domestic oil production shot up a stunning 77%, according to the Energy Information Administration, making the U.S. the biggest oil producer in the world.

That’s why gas prices are low today. And why oil imports have dropped so sharply. And none of it had anything to do with Obama, who tried to hamper oil production whenever he could – blocking Keystone, restrictions on federal lands, EPA attempts to hinder fracking.

Indeed, moments after bragging about low energy prices, Obama said he’d push to raise them, “to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

Fracking is also why we’ve cut carbon emissions, because it sharply lowered the price of natural gas, which in turn let power plants switch from carbon-heavy coal to low-carbon gas.

Yes, Obama did pour billions of dollars into wind and solar subsidies, and various state governments added still more to sweeten the pot. And what did the country get for all that money?

Solar and wind still account for just 24% of renewable energy supplies and a tiny 2% of total energy production, government data show.

And, incredibly, more than half of the gains in solar and wind under Obama were offset by declines in hydroelectric power — a clean, renewable energy source that environmentalists happen to detest.

So after spending billions subsidizing solar and wind, the share of our energy that comes from renewables is the same as it was when Obama took office.

Exactly the same.

The U.S. has a bright energy future despite Obama, not because of him.



Feds Waste Nearly $40 Million Of Potential Ebola Funding On Origami Condoms And Fat Lesbians

$39,643,352 Worth Of NIH Funding That Could Have Gone To The Ebola Vaccine – Washington Free Beacon


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent more than $39 million on obese lesbians, origami condoms, texting drunks, and dozens of other projects that could have been scrapped in favor of developing an Ebola vaccine.

“Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, blaming budget cuts for his agency’s failure to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus.

However, the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered $39,643,352 worth of NIH studies within the past several years that have gone to questionable research.

For instance, the agency has spent $2,873,440 trying to figure out why lesbians are obese, and $466,642 on why fat girls have a tough time getting dates. Another $2,075,611 was spent encouraging old people to join choirs.

Millions have gone to “text message interventions,” including a study where researchers sent texts to drunks at the bar to try to get them to stop drinking. The project received an additional grant this year, for a total of $674,590.

The NIH is also texting older African Americans with HIV ($372,460), HIV and drug users in rural areas ($693,000), HIV smokers ($763,519), pregnant smokers ($380,145), teen moms ($243,839), and meth addicts ($360,113). Text message interventions to try to get obese people to lose weight have cost $2,707,067.

The NIH’s research on obesity has led to spending $2,101,064 on wearable insoles and buttons that can track a person’s weight, and $374,670 to put on fruit and vegetable puppet shows for preschoolers.

A restaurant intervention to develop new children’s menus cost $275,227, and the NIH spent $430,608 for mother-daughter dancing outreach to fight obesity.

Sexual minorities have received a substantial amount from the NIH. The agency has now spent $105,066 following 16 schizophrenic LGBT Canadians around Toronto for a study on their community experiences.

The total for a project on why gay men get syphilis in Peru is now $692,697 after receiving additional $228,425 this year. The NIH is also concerned about postpartum depression in “invisible sexual minority women,” with a study that has cost $718,770.

Millions went to develop “origami condoms,” in male, female, and anal versions. The inventor Danny Resnic, who received $2,466,482 from the NIH, has been accused of massive fraud for using grant money for full-body plastic surgery in Costa Rica and parties at the Playboy mansion.

How transwomen use Facebook is the subject of another NIH study worth $194,788.

The agency has also committed $5 million to “mine and analyze” social media to study American’s attitudes toward drug abuse, and $306,900 to use Twitter for surveillance on depressed people.

The NIH has also spent $15,313,372 on cessation studies devoted to every kind of smoker imaginable. Current studies are targeted at American Indians ($2,899,954); Chinese and Vietnamese men ($424,875); postmenopausal women ($4,151,850); the homeless ($558,576);Korean youth ($94,580); young schizophrenics ($397,802); Brazilian women smokers ($955,368);Latino HIV-positive smokers($471,530); and the LGBT community ($2,364,521).

Yale University is studying how to get “Heavy Drinkers” to stop smoking at a cost of $571,799. Other projects seek to use Twitter to provide “social support to smokers” ($659,469), and yoga ($1,763,048) as a way to quit.

An NIH project studying sighs cost taxpayers $53,282.

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) had to outsource efforts at an Ebola vaccine to the Baltimore-based Profectus BioSciences Inc. The company will receive $8.6 million to research and test their vaccine, a fraction of NIH funding that went to the above projects.



The Top 100 Examples Of Government Waste

The Top 100 Examples Of Government Waste – Washington Fee Beacon

Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R., Okla.) annual Wastebook was released Tuesday, detailing billions in frivolous government spending on everything from wine to romance novels.


As the federal debt surpassed $17 trillion in 2013, Coburn’s office named its top 100 examples of government waste, which cost taxpayers more than $30 billion this year.

“When it comes to spending your money,” Coburn wrote, “those in Washington tend to see no waste, speak no waste, and cut no waste.”

The examples are numerous, including a $150,000 zombie game created to teach kids math and $40,810 to hire an Inventory Manager at the “Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys,” which features exhibits on miniature trains, and giant teddy bears.

The 167-page report compares the Obamacare launch to “New Coke,” tallying the total cost for the glitch-ridden website and promotion for the law at $379 million. Coburn uses the $319 million figure for Healthcare.gov—the most conservative estimate for the cost to build the website—and $60 million for advertising.

The $10 million Oregon received to push the law includes advertisements that do not even mention the word “insurance.”

However, the Portland advertising agency North, Inc., did produce a psychedelic cartoon ad that “features what appears to be Gumby riding on the Beatles’ yellow submarine” to promote Cover Oregon.

The Oregon marketplace had only enrolled 44 people as of Nov. 30.

Other federally funded advertising campaigns have not proven much more successful. “Colorado’s $20 million Obamacare campaign, which features an Elvis impersonator, has signed up fewer than 4,000 enrollees including one dog named Baxter,” the report said.

The National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) spent nearly $1 million to promote romance novels, including a $616,000 documentary “Love Between the Covers,” a website, and a traveling exhibit.

The $914,000 grant was meant 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.”

The website recently asked if Edward from the Twilight series was “romantic or controlling?”

Other examples of misguided government spending included $1.9 million for “lifestyle coaching” for Senate staff and $1.5 billion for the maintenance of vacant federal buildings.

The Justice Department spends $626,250 so its employees can use travel agents instead of booking online, and the Postal Service paid “futurist” Faith Popcorn $836 an hour for advice on the future of stamps, amassing a bill of $566,000.

Sixty-five million dollars in intended Hurricane Sandy relief went to tourism ads, while only one victim to date has received housing assistance in Staten Island.

Funding also went to research projects that study duck penises ($384,989) and how to use human urine as fertilizer ($15,000).

The Wastebook noted the results of a similar project: “A 2007 study conducted in Finland … found cabbage fertilized with urine grew faster and larger but that sauerkraut produced from the cabbage grown in urine tasted different.”

The U.S. taxpayer also subsidized a hefty amount of alcohol production in 2013. The Alaskan Brewing Company received $450,000 for a “new environmentally friendly boiler,” $200,000 was spent to double production at a winery in Oklahoma, and $100,000 went towards a distillery that makes yam vodka in North Carolina.

The report also focuses on waste in the Pentagon’s budget, including a $9 million reality television series for the Army and a $34 million military headquarters in Afghanistan that will never be used.

The Department of Defense also destroyed $7 billion worth of useable military equipment in Afghanistan rather than selling it or shipping it home.

Another target is NASA, with the report finding over $4.1 million in wasteful projects over the past year.

While no manned missions to space are planned, NASA spent $360,000 paying people to “lie around and do nothing” for a study on weightlessness in space.

The agency spent $3 million for a seminar on “how the legislative process really works” in Congress; $237,205 to study red crabs; and $390,000 to create a cartoon superhero, the “Green Ninja,” to teach children about global warming.

The character fights his archenemies “plastic man, coal man, and junky corporate man.”

“These are only a few of the 100 examples of government mismanagement and stupidity included in Wastebook 2013,” Coburn writes. “Collectively these cost more than $30 billion in a year when Washington would have you believe everything that could be done has been done to control unnecessary spending.”

“Had just these 100 been eliminated, the sequester amount would have been reduced nearly a third without any noticeable disruption,” he said.

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Defense Department Loses At Least $1.1 Billion To Waste And Fraud In One Year

DOD Makes $1.1 Bil In “Erroneous Payments” In One Year – Judicial Watch

Though it may seem inconceivable to the taxpayers that fund this atrocity, a major government agency with a monstrous annual budget loses such large sums of money to waste and fraud each year that it has no idea how much and nothing has been done to stop the hemorrhaging.


What we do know, thanks to a federal audit released this month, is that the amount of public funds lost to waste and fraud amounted to at least $1.1 billion in one recent year alone though it’s likely much higher. The actual figure will never be pinned down because financial management shortcomings at the agency, the Department of Defense (DOD), are too severe.

The estimates “were neither reliable nor statistically valid because of long-standing and pervasive financial management weaknesses and significant deficiencies in the department’s procedures to estimate improper payments,” according to the audit. This means that, unbelievably, the enormous $1.1 billion waste figure listed in the report for fiscal year 2011 isn’t even credible due to “missing invoices and other flawed paperwork, as well as errors in arithmetic.”

Imagine if a private business, or even a household for that matter, was run in this manner. But this is the Pentagon and it has a never-ending cash flow that allows it to spend about a trillion dollars annually like it’s no big deal. The $1.1 billion in “erroneous payments” that year went to a variety of things, including overpayments of military health benefits, civilian, travel and commercial pay to vendors. It’s like a free for all, with large wads of cash distributed everywhere and little to no oversight.

The DOD doesn’t seem terribly worried about it and appears to have no sense of urgency to correct the problem. Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, found that the DOD hasn’t bothered performing a required risk assessment to identify programs susceptible to significant improper payments or that the agency has implemented procedures to identify root causes of improper payments. Furthermore, the Pentagon hasn’t conducted recovery audits for any of its wasteful programs.

You can’t help but get the feeling that the DOD simply doesn’t care about correcting this rather large problem, which has been documented over two decades in a variety of federal probes. Just a few months ago the DOD Inspector General revealed that a company that had “overbilled” the Pentagon an astounding $757 million was rewarded with a monstrous no-bid contract extension worth more than $4 billion. A Florida lawmaker, John Mica, investigating the matter offered this assessment during a congressional hearing: “This has to be one of the prime poster childs for a government contract spun out of control.”

Prior this that the DOD has been under fire for wasting large sums of money, including $70 billion on dubious projects unrelated to its mission. This includes billions on research that has little or nothing to do with national defense or medical needs related to military service, including $5.2 billion to study fish that overcome political polarization and $1.4 million to create beef jerky treats. You can’t make this stuff up!

Who could forget the billions wasted in Iraq reconstruction efforts? Audit after audit has exposed how the DOD projects are rife with waste, fraud and abuse and that the spending is so out of control the government has lost track of a large portion of the money. At last count at least $6 to $8 billion earmarked to rebuild Iraq by training local police, building schools, hospitals and transportation systems could not even be accounted for.

On the heels of that unbelievable revelation Americans learned that the Pentagon had somehow lost $475 million worth of oil destined for the Afghan National Army. It simply vanished with no trace. It’s unlikely we will ever know how the oil disappeared because the DOD improperly shredded records that could solve the mystery, according to federal auditors.

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New Documents Reveal Lavish Spending At Government-Subsidized Travel-Promotion Agency

New Documents Reveal Lavish Spending At Government-Subsidized Travel-Promotion Agency – Daily Caller

Promoting travel to America can be expensive – especially if Uncle Sam is footing most of the bill.

Documents exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller show extensive waste and mismanagement at the public-private partnership Brand USA, a government-backed travel-promotion agency established in May 2011 under Travel Promotion Act of 2009 to encourage foreign travelers to visit the United States.

Some of the new organization’s recent expenses include $4,139 for 250 holiday cards, $3,592 for a holiday e-card and $2,449 for a ringtone version of the Rosanne Cash song “Land of Dreams,” which was created specifically for a sweeping Brand USA promotional campaign.

Also among the expenditures, according to the documents, are $2,700 for 26 sets of business cards and $50,252 for giveaway materials at the International Pow Wow trade show, which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center earlier this year. The agency spent nearly $35,000 on Chinese-made water bottles for the event.

And Brand USA spent close to $1 million on its posh launch party in London last year, including $69,300 on freebies for attendees. Almost $50,000 went to neck wallets, and the organization dished out a grand total of $13,101 for umbrellas.

Brand USA has also paid out approximately $1 million in severance pay to eight terminated employees, the documents show.

In October, the Senate’s top Republican waste hawks released a report, titled “Initial Investigation of Brand USA and the Department of Commerce’s Oversight,” which detailed some of the agency’s lavish expenditures.

But Brand USA, which received $2 from the government for every $1 it received in cash and non-cash contributions throughout fiscal year 2012, seems to have lacked leadership, in addition to frugality.

A comprehensive audit of Brand USA, produced by KTS Business Consulting and exclusively obtained by TheDC, painted a particularly unflattering picture of the agency’s management.

“Although The Brand USA has a mission statement, not one staff member was able to recite it,” the audit reads. “Furthermore, a majority of the staff did not have any idea what the mission was… It became very clear that The Brand USA needs a strong vision. Staff’s responses were all varied, and it identified that there is not a consensus on the direction of the organization… Staff spends money without any checks and balances or funds tied to a budget.”

Anne Madison, a Brand USA spokeswoman, explained to TheDC that trade shows are an important part of promoting travel to the United States, and maintained that the agency’s expenses are reasonable.

“All expenditures for [the London] event went toward raising awareness of and inspiring travel to the United States, and are on par with any good marketing strategy to increase awareness, engagement and loyalty from those who significantly influence inbound travel to the USA,” Madison wrote in an email.

Madison insisted that 85 percent of the organization’s funding goes to marketing and programs to meet its international travel goals. And, citing internal Brand USA numbers, she claimed that “intent to visit” the U.S. has increased 12 percent in Canada, 14 percent in Japan and 14 percent in the United Kingdom since the agency’s launch.

Brand USA’s funding comes in part from a $14 fee levied on visitors to the U.S. from countries that do not require a visa for entry.

“The entire team at Brand USA is focused on and dedicated to pursuing and fulfilling [its] mandate,” she said. “In the process, we will be able to strengthen our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across a variety industries. Every 33 new international travelers that visit the United States creates one new job for America. That’s something we are proud to be a part of.”

But a former Brand USA employee, who requested anonymity, told TheDC the agency was not particularly concerned about keeping an eye on its expenditures.

“The government side of spending was just not at the fore – like [we were not thinking], ‘Oh my God, what would someone say if we had spent this much money on something?’ That was not the first question,” the ex-employee said, noting that the agency was initially focused mainly on getting off the ground, rather than saving money.

The former employee added that Brand USA’s spending slowed somewhat when the government began asking questions, but still remained excessive.

One Senate Republican staffer told TheDC that Brand USA’s expenditures are “very troubling,” adding that the agency “will likely be a continuing concern to members of the Republican Conference.”

“The only folks who are going to be able to put a stop to the wasteful spending at Brand USA is the leadership of the Department of Commerce,” the staffer said. “Unless someone over there is willing to grab Brand USA leadership by the lapels and tell them to knock it off or we’re not sending you any more checks, this type of stuff isn’t going to stop.”

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What Government Gets For $18.9B: Robo-Squirrels And Smokey The Bear Balloons

What Government Gets For $18.9B: Robo-Squirrels And Smokey The Bear Balloons – National Journal

Congress has taken a “let them eat caviar” attitude toward the American people, according to Sen. Tom Coburn.

As part of an annual “Wastebook” he released Monday, the Oklahoma Republican identified 100 government-backed projects, including a $300,000 effort to promote caviar consumption, that he says highlight the spend-happy nature of Congress at a time Americans are “struggling just to put the basics on the family dinner table.” Combined, the projects total $18.9 billion in what Coburn sees as excess spending.

“How many nutritious school lunches could have been served with the $1.8 million in financial assistance provided to cupcake specialty shops?,” Coburn asks in a letter at the start of the report.

The report derides initiatives from all branches of government, including some increased food stamp benefits for recipients that use medical marijuana, a NASA program designed to research proper food and drink for an unscheduled future mission to Mars and a $32,000 project to recreate a historic street out of Legos.

Coburn also calls out his colleagues for failing to address enough legislation, citing the statistic that they are on track to be the least productive legislature in history. The cost of their inactivity? $132 million, according to the report.

“Many high school student councils have been more deliberative than the U.S. Senate,” the report reads.

Not every line item in Coburn’s tally adds up. Many of the projects he ridicules list several-thousand-dollar price tags – with fine print below that explains the initiative was “part” of a certain government-funded grant costing that overall amount. In his tally of wasteful spending, Coburn also includes several loan guarantees for companies that have yet to fail. Though taxpayers would be on the hook if the company did go under, the government will be repaid the balance of the loan if the company succeeds.

Below, the Alley rounds up our 10 favorite examples from Coburn’s report:

$325,000 for an effort to build a lifelike Robo-Squirrel

$27 million for a project that included pottery classes for Moroccan artists translated by someone who was not fluent in English – and using materials that cannot be purchased in Morocco.

Almost $50,000 for Smokey the Bear hot-air balloon appearances.
$505,000 in block grants for a pet shampoo and toothpaste company.
$520,000 for an Ohio bridge that doesn’t connect to a road or trail.
$40,000 for a video game based on Thoreau’s writings at Walden Pond.
More than $540,000 for a dancing robot that DJs smartphones.
Nearly $68,000 for a “Students Against Trash” poster campaign.
$6.9 million for research into making rubber-free tires from natural materials.
$35,000 for a book vending machine.

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*VIDEO* Incompetence, Cronyism, Waste And Fraud: Congressman Issa Discusses Obama’s Green Energy Policies

Record-Busting U.S. Spending On The United Nations

Record-Busting U.S. Spending On The United Nations – Pajamas Media

While President Obama exhorts American taxpayers to tighten their belts, and the U.S. flirts with default, the United Nations is setting new records for spending American money. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has produced its latest report, required by Congress, on U.S. contributions to the UN. For the 2010 fiscal year, the U.S. bankrolled the UN to the tune of $7.69 billion. As the Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer notes, that’s a “staggering 21 percent increase over FY2009.”

It’s also more than double the $3.539 which U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, in testimony this April to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, implied was the rough amount of U.S. annual spending on the UN.

The rise in U.S. contributions reflects soaring UN budgets over the past decade, to which the U.S. has been the biggest contributor. The exact percentage of UN activity funded by the U.S. varies, depending on which part of the UN we’re talking about. But browsing the OMB report can give you a pretty good idea of how big a hunk of the UN tab is bankrolled by American taxpayers. Scroll down in the report to page 2, where you can discover that the U.S. in fiscal 2010 bankrolled 27.3% of all UN peacekeeping, 22% of the regular budget, 33.6% of the World Food Program, and 26.5% of the budget of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).

What’s America getting for all this money? One seat, with one vote, in a 192-member General Assembly dominated by the largely anti-American preferences of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the G-77 plus China. One permanent seat on the Security Council, alongside veto-wielding China (which contributes a mere 3.189% of the UN’s regular budget) and Russia (which contributes 1.6%). And such privileges as a chance to rub elbows with the likes of Iran and Cuba on the governing board of the UN’s flagship agency, the UN Development Program (UNDP). Plus the endless circus act in which the UN promises transparency, better oversight and more efficient management – and delivers soaring budgets, opaque finances and bubbling scandals. All those American billions now pouring into the UN had their origins in work done by Americans, who earned that money, and then had it taxed away by government – and turned over to the UN. Given a choice, could those taxpayers perhaps find better uses for their dollars?

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Federal Government Doles Out $125 Billion In “Improper Payments”

Federal Government Doles Out $125 Billion In “Improper Payments” – Judicial Watch

With the national debt and federal spending at an all-time high several U.S. government agencies joined forces to make an outlandish $125 billion in “improper payments” last year, an increase of more than $16 billion from the previous year.

This sort of government waste and corruption is hardly an earth-shattering development. Congressional investigators have for years documented the growing crisis of federal agencies making fraudulent payments to those who don’t qualify yet little has been done to correct the situation. In fact, this month’s audit containing the latest figures stresses that previous investigations have “highlighted long-standing, widespread and significant problems with improper payments in the federal government.”

The impropriety is so pervasive that President Obama issued a much-ballyhooed order last summer commanding federal agencies to create a “Do Not Pay List” to protect taxpayer resources and stem abuse. It has done nothing to protect increasingly scarce taxpayer dollars, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress.

In its latest report the GAO reveals that federal agencies made $125.4 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2010, marking a substantial increase from the $109.2 billion it dished out in fiscal 2009. The biggest chunk of the fraudulent payments—more than 90%—was made by social spending programs, mainly Medicare (health coverage for the elderly), Medicaid (health coverage for the poor) and the Labor Department’s unemployment insurance.

Improper income tax credits, Social Security and disability payments, free school lunches and food stamps round off the top 10. Incredibly, just a few weeks ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a $5 million campaign to recruit more food-stamp recipients, even though the GAO reveals that the agency doled out nearly $4.8 billion in improper benefits last year due to “incorrect computations, misapplication of an income or resource exclusion and inadequate verification of accounts and wages.”

There seems to be no end in site to the waste, according to GAO investigators, who diplomatically state that “challenges” remain in “determining the full extent of improper payments across the federal government and in reasonably assuring that effective actions are taken to reduce improper payments.” Some agencies don’t even bother reporting improper payments, the GAO says, so the full extent of the problem will never really be known.

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