US Senator James Lankford has released his first edition of Federal Fumbles, a report on some of the more strange forms of waste from our federal government. The report is an interesting read. Senator Lankford identifies the top 100 items of waste and, instead of just complaining about things, a solution is proposed for each item in-order to avoid repeating the same wasteful practices. As Lankford writes in the opening, which is addressed to “My fellow taxpayers,” he states that he believes he has “the obligation to solve the troubles of our nation, not just complain, which is why for every problem identified, you will also find a recommended solution.”
It is not just wasteful spending that is identified in this report, but it also includes the waste of burdensome regulations. Lankford writes, “The National Association of Manufacturers calculated the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 to be a staggering $2.028 trillion (11 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product). If our $2 trillion federal regulatory cost were a country, it would be the ninth-largest in the world.” Wow.
There are a lot of noteworthy highlights. One project was for $43 million for a gas station in Afghanistan. Another is dishwasher water usage regulations that end up requiring the user to wash a load of dishes twice, thus rendering any efficiency standards as wholly ineffective. A study on the history of smoking in Russia is listed, as are the consequences of our government failing to keep accurate death records, which results in continued payments to the deceased. Also making the list is the year-end spending spree of government agencies who exercise the use it or lose it style of spending, with is such an irresponsible way to spend tax payer money.
Great job by Senator James Lankford and his staff on putting together this comprehensive work of sunshine on our government’s expenditures. Researching and fact-checking all of this must have been a logistical nightmare, which alone is a problem. And the solution here is offered by Lankford in the form of a bill he introduced called the Taxpayer’s Right to Know Act, which, as described by Lankford, “creates a central database for the financial data of every federal program in all federal agencies and departments.” It should be easy for the average Joe to look up how our government is spending our money. Right now that is not the case. It should not have to take the weight and access of a congressional staff to find out simple expenditure information.
Sunshine is the best cleaning agent for government waste. Federal Fumbles seeks to offer the sunshine needed to reform the outrageous way our government spends our money, and we are appreciative of that to say the least.