The feds spend your money studying...monkey drool?

  • 11 January 2017
  • NormanL
The feds spend your money studying...monkey drool?

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has released his collection of wasteful government spending programs, and it makes for infuriating reading:

Sen. Jeff Flake's Wastebook: PORKémon Go highlighted “50 examples of outrageous and wasteful federal spending amounting to more than $5 billion.” Science agencies again figured heavily into the list. 

At a time of record debt, and when the government struggled to find funds to combat the Zika virus, Flake said, “the nation’s most prestigious science agencies were squandering resources already available by investigating matters most would consider obvious or even absurd.”

The National Institutes of Health, for example, “spent nearly $1 million to study the evolution of monkey drool and another $230,000 to determine if the color red makes female monkeys feel more romantic,” the report said.

The National Science Foundation funded scientists “playing with dolls to prove what every child already knows—girls are more likely to play with Barbie dolls than boys.”

NIH gave out $5 million in grants to study the habits of college students and find that “fraternity brothers drink, smoke and generally party more than other students,” and $3.5 million to learn that people are afraid of the dentist because “fear of pain has been shown to be a critical component.”

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration came under fire for a $1.7 million grant to help build a National Comedy Center in upstate New York featuring holograms, down the street from a museum devoted to comedian Lucille Ball.

The truly sad thing is how these examples represent just a fraction of the money -- your money -- the federal government tosses down the drain each year. Ending it is difficult, as wasteful spending has been highlighted, mocked, investigated, and debated since the founding of the Republic.

But that doesn't mean we should stop highlighting, mocking, investigating, and debating it.