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Retired Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn was always going to be a tough act to follow when it came to producing the colorful “Wastebook” that he and his staff produced every year to document what they saw as profligate government spending.
But Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who inherited the Wastebook when Coburn retired after the 2014 edition, is definitely trying hard. Maybe too hard.
Year - Edition - Tuesday - Porkemon - Go
This year’s edition, released Tuesday, is titled “Porkemon Go” and features a cartoon version of Flake on the front, dressed as the character Ash Ketchum from the Pokemon series. It follows on last year’s version, “Wastebook 2015: The Farce Awakens” which took the film from the Star Wars franchise as its theme.
The collection of supposed outrages has always been couched in terms of fiscal responsibility, and this year’s version is no different. “Within mere days, the national debt will top $20 trillion, the largest amount ever owed by any nation in history, and the federal government’s authority to borrow expires in March,” Flake writes in the introduction. “But rather than making a long overdue resolution to be fiscally responsible, the promises from Washington are to spend even more.”
Example - Year - Administration - Congress - Billions
He continues, “As an example, this past year the outgoing Administration requested that Congress provide billions of dollars in additional money to pay for efforts to address the spread of Zika, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause birth defects. At the same time, the nation’s most prestigious science agencies were squandering resources already available by investigating matters most would consider obvious or even absurd.”
The Wastebook is a complicated subject to write about objectively. Heavy on snark and mockery, it identifies dozens of examples of obscure federal spending, many of which are objectively wasteful or corrupt. But it also has a history of ridiculing scientific research grants by describing them in...
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