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September 9th, 2013 1:38 pm
Three stupid ways the government wastes your money

Buried within the federal government’s $3.8 trillion budget are thousands of instances of waste, fraud and abuse of your hard-earned tax dollars. Here are three of the more ludicrous examples of government waste that we stumbled upon this week:

1)  The federal government wastes up to $8 billion annually maintaining its massive stash of vacant properties. How many unused properties does the federal government own? No one knows. It seems the government doesn’t care enough about taxpayers to keep track of how many vacant federal properties Americans are paying to maintain. Big Government estimates there are as many as 77,000 properties currently owned or leased by the federal government that are sitting empty.

Even if Congress and federal bureaucrats had the sense to sell the properties (a move that would help reduce the deficit by generating billions in revenue), an outlandish and outdated 1987 law “forces properties first to be offered to other federal agencies, then state agencies and finally offered for use as homeless shelters before they can be sold.” As a result, the process of selling off an unneeded building can take a decade – and taxpayers are stuck paying for the property’s maintenance and upkeep throughout the entire lengthy process.

2)  A new version of the $100 bill is scheduled to be released on October 8. The bill, which was supposed to be in circulation in 2011, has been plagued with problems and setbacks. “The first batch ended up with a blank spot, and the second round was lifted by thieves on their way to the Federal Reserve,” according to a CBSMiami/CNN article.

Now, because the U.S. Mint failed to properly plan for how the paper used for the new bills would soak up ink, the new Benjamins will use $4 million more worth of ink than estimated. The Mint promises the problem can be fixed in future rounds of printing. For now, however, taxpayers are on the hook for the mistake.

3)  The National Institutes of Health wasted $49,198 in hopes of improving “our understanding of the relation between alcohol use and within-session gambling behavior.” In other words, researchers hope to verify the already obvious reality that getting drunk as a skunk leads to losing money at a casino.

In order to perform the study, 21 to 30-year-olds played video poker while getting increasingly plastered on taxpayer-funded alcohol. The research, not surprisingly, was conducted at Arizona State University — a notorious party school.

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