It's no surprise the government wastes our taxpayer dollars - in the billions! But a new report out today by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn shows just what one agency is spending our money on.Coburn took a look at the National Science Foundation - the independent government agency tasked with managing research grants for America's universities.He found studies being conducted that, I'm sure you'll agree, don't appear to advance the cause of science.Coburn concluded the NSF misspent $3 billion on projects we really didn't need to know the answers to. Among them: two million dollars was spent analyzing 38 million photos on the Website flicker. The results? Friends often post pictures of each other! who knew?Continuing with the social networking theme, $315,000 spent to find out if Farmville - a game found on Facebook - helps adults in their relationships? I don't need $315,000 to tell you that if you spend too much time playing video games you probably don't have many relationships.Other atrocities included $50,000 to produce songs about science. You may know such popular hits as "Money for Drugs" and "Biogas is a Gas Gas Gas." No, they're not on your I-pod either?Also $581,000 spent on whether online dating sites are racist. This one's for the moms out there— the foundation spent $1.5 million creating a robot that can fold laundry - but all that money just produced a machine that takes 25 minutes to fold a single towel.
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And then there's this - a half million dollars to see a shrimp run on a treadmill... I have no idea what that was for.
The foundation, which has a nearly $7 billion budget, defended itself today stating, "The foundation advances the frontiers of science and engineering and improves Americans' lives."Now that you've seen the shrimp video - do you feel like your life has been improved? Aside from the questionable science, Coburn's report also documented numerous instances of ... let's just say... illicit behavior.Two "romantically involved" workers went on 47 trips together - at a cost of $144,000 in taxpayer dollars. There was actually one instance where employees were caught Jell-o wrestling at the Antarctica research station, while getting paid with taxpayer dollars.Not to mention other instances of misused funds spent on porn, alcohol and even video games. I'm sure this agency does have some important research being conducted, and actual worthy studies deserve some support.But this story is all too familiar. As we debate over whether to cut entitlements - simple cuts would be streamlining Washington - stop having the same agencies do the same work.And stop having them waste taxpayer money on if March Madness is rigged!Then again... that one might be a worthwhile study.