It’s all over the news today. On Tuesday, U.S. Senators John McCain (R- AZ) and Tom Coburn (R- OK) released a report they call “Summertime Blues” listing their top 100 federal stimulus projects they term as “wasteful”.
Hitting a little too close for comfort is item No. 27 –$450,695 earmarked to build a museum exhibit on the “natural and cultural” heritage of the Mississippi River, to be housed at the National Great Rivers Museum.
Now from our local standpoint, dollars spent in this area that may lead to additional tourists attending the museum and, in turn, eating in our restaurants, buying our gasoline and staying in our motels, is not wasteful, it is economic stimulus (there’s that word again).
So while Sens. McCain and Coburn think spending $450K on a museum is wasteful, we think it is, well, stimulating.
But, after reviewing their list of Top 100 “wasteful stimulus projects” I pretty well agree with their assessment of most of the other 99.
Here’s a few of their low points (or highpoints, depending on where you’re from):
$1.9 million for international ant research (Domestic ants not good enough for ya?)
$677,462 for Research on Monkey and Chimpanzee Responses to Inequity (Prediction: they don’t like it.)
$180,935 for a Better Way to Freeze Rat DNA (You want to clone Rats?)
$298,543 – Weather Predictions for Other Planets (Record lows tonight on Jupiter-bring your houseplants inside)
$199,862 for Helping Siberians Lobby Russian Policymakers (Bring the Siberians here and give ‘em an office in the Capital Building)
$529,648 for Studying the Effect of Local Populations on the Environment…in the Himalayas (I guess they didn’t have enough tourists to study)
$1.2 million for Research: Marketing Video Games to the Elderly (“Ethel, it’s my turn to play Grand Theft Auto”)
$253,123 for museum With 44 Annual Visitors Gets Funding for Bug Storage (…and we’re not talking VW Beetles )
$497,117 for Helping Drinkers Control Their Alcohol Consumption With Creative Labeling (Yeah, it worked so well on cigarette packs)
$712,883 – Scientist Attempts to Create Joke Machine (Too late, we call them “elections”)
and my favorite:
$193,956 for Understanding Perceptions of the Economic Stimulus (See above)