Tags: Coburn | Wastebook | NIH

Rabbit Massages, Gambling Monkeys in Coburn's Final Wastebook

Rabbit Massages, Gambling Monkeys in Coburn's Final Wastebook
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 October 2014 09:12 AM

In his final “Wastebook” – Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual report of wasteful government spending – the retiring Republican lists 100 ridiculous taxpayer funded programs, including spending $387,000 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to give Swedish massages to rabbits with a mechanical machine, according to CNN.

NIH Director Francis Collins has said “if (the NIH) had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had [an Ebola] vaccine in time for this.”

According to Coburn’s Wastebook, the massages were given after subjecting the rabbits to exercise to measure its impact on recovery.

“If the researchers were seeking to learn how to identify the most optimal application of massage therapy to treat human muscle aches and injuries, then perhaps they should have observed human subjects. Instead, this study seems to have chased tax dollars down a rabbit hole,” the report reads.

Among the myriad other wasteful drains on taxpayers, according to Coburn, include spending $50,000 on synchronized swimming for sea monkeys, $1 billion for the Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition and $171,000 for scientists to measure free will by watching monkeys play video games and gamble.

Politico reports that the NIH also spent $371,000 on researching the emotional state of women when they see their dog compared to seeing their child; $533,000 to study how Buddhism explains the science of meditation; and another $804,000 developing “Kiddio: Food Fight,” a smartphone game aimed at empowering parents in vegetable-eating negotiations with their children.

And CNN notes some others: “The National Science Foundation is also planning on spending $1.5 million to monitor Americans' attendance at science festivals. Another $200,000 will go to a study meant to determine ‘why Wikipedia is sexist,’ " according to the Wastebook report.

The State Department spends $90 million a year on cultural exchange programs, including one such program which sought to dispel a Pakistani journalist's perception that Americans are "fat, rude, and cold. It worked.”

“Every year taxpayers, regardless of their personal political leanings, raise their eyebrows and shake their heads in disbelief at how billions of dollars that could be better spent — or not spent at all — were squandered,” write Coburn, who’s retiring at the end of the year.

“Then they ask, ‘but what are you doing about it?’ I have offered hundreds of amendments to stop stupid spending, most have been soundly defeated.”

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In his final “Wastebook” – Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual report of wasteful government spending – the retiring Republican lists 100 ridiculous taxpayer funded programs.
Coburn, Wastebook, NIH
398
2014-12-22
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 09:12 AM
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