» Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn releases Wastebook, slams ‘stupid’ spending » News — GOPUSA

(File Photo)

WASHINGTON — Tax breaks for brothels, paying federal workers for not working and the Obamacare website all made Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual Wastebook this year, but the Oklahoma Republican aimed much of his scorn Tuesday at the U.S. Defense Department.

Coburn’s book includes 100 examples of “stupid” federal spending totaling $30 billion, and he challenged claims by the Pentagon and federal agencies that their cupboards are bare.

“The truth is we would much rather borrow money than cut spending,” Coburn, of Muskogee, said at a news conference. “We see no waste, cut no waste and embrace increasing the burden on the American people because we won’t do our jobs, and it’s Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Coburn has been documenting questionable government spending for years — in his Wastebooks, and in reports that focus on specific agencies. He said Tuesday that people may be looking at some spending more closely now because of his reports, but he blamed Congress for not doing the oversight necessary to change the patterns.

Coburn’s criticism of defense spending included the decision to destroy $7 billion worth of equipment in Afghanistan — “wasted, valuable equipment because it’s too hard to utilize it in some other part of the world” — and to mothball brand new planes because, he said, the Afghan military didn’t want them.

“In my mind, if you wanted to save $100 billion a year at the Pentagon, you could do it without any difficulty, without affecting our readiness, our training or supply,” Coburn said.

The Wastebook also slams:

The Obamacare website, calling it the biggest marketing flop since “New Coke”;

A tax code that allows brothel owners to claim standard business deductions;

Numerous government-funded research projects, including one to study “romance” in novels, songs and other art forms;

A $300 million U.S. Army blimp, which went unused and was eventually sold back to the contractor for $300,000;

Agriculture programs that saddle the government with surplus sugar and fund U.S. wine promotion in China;

State Department expenditures to get “likes” on its Facebook page, improve the landscaping at the NATO ambassador’s house in Belgium and buy handblown crystal stemware for embassies, while officials claimed they didn’t have enough money to provide proper security at the embassy in Benghazi;

Paying federal employees for not working during the 16-day government shutdown in October, including more than 100,000 who make at least $100,000 a year.

“This report speaks volumes about why the American people have lost confidence in government, why Congress’ ratings are at 6 percent,” Coburn said.

“To me this is a moral issue. If you’re spending money you don’t have on things you don’t absolutely need and the result of that is lowering the standard of living for the young people of this country, I think that’s immoral.”

 

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