Government Spending

Sen. Tom Coburn on Goverment Waste, Including Loan Guarantees to Spanky's Liquor World and Pistol Pete's Beef 'n Beer

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As the budget deficit soared, infrastructure crumbled and the economy tanked, the federal government this year spent $300,000 for a California skateboarding park, $188,000 to research Maine lobsters and $3.2 million on a spy blimp the military doesn't want, according to a new report by the Senate's self-styled spending scourge.

The report, to be released today by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., lists more than $1.3 billion of what it calls wasteful projects in 2008….

• Various federal agencies spent $167,290 for portrait paintings of Cabinet officers.

• The federal Institute of Museums and Library Sciences awarded a $3,905 grant to the public library in Westfield, Ind., for the purchase of a Nintendo Wii console, a television, a camcorder and games.

• The Agriculture Department gave $298,068 to an Idaho farmer to help him advertise and market his specialty potatoes sold mainly to high-end restaurants.

• The Small Business Administration guaranteed $82 million in loans for 331 liquor stores, including Spanky's Liquor World and Pistol Pete's Beef N' Beer.

• Five members of Congress spent nearly $22,000 to stay three nights at a luxury hotel on the Galapagos Islands, the South American archipelago where Charles Darwin mulled his theory of evolution. That figure doesn't include the cost of the Air Force jet placed at their disposal.

More here.

Go here for the spending-tracking site Coburn and then-Sen. Barack Obama created in 2006.

And click below to watch Coburn talk to Reason.tv about how earmarks destroy the integrity of the Congress and the federal government:

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  1. I love Coburn, I really do, but here’s the problem: he voted for the TARP on the 2nd go around, unlike his fellow Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe (who also tried to hold up half of the TARP money).

    So, I’m having a really hard time giving a crap about what Coburn says right about now.

  2. Spy blimp? WTF? It’s a goddamn blimp, it’s kinda hard to miss. Is this a stalking horse to re-nationalize the Strategic Helium Reserve?

  3. $3.2 million on a spy blimp the military doesn’t want

    I’ll take it. Where can I pick it up? Do I need a trailer or can I fly it home?

  4. The spy blimp isn’t about secrecy; rather, it sends the message that you are, in fact, being watched. Nothing says “we’ve got you” more than a blimp hovering over you as you sit in your house watching TV.

  5. he voted for the TARP on the 2nd go around,

    Which raises the question: What was his price? What pork did he put in to make TARP worse before he would vote for it?

  6. The Small Business Administration guaranteed $82 million in loans for 331 liquor stores, including Spanky’s Liquor World and Pistol Pete’s Beef N’ Beer

    Well, with Ted Kenedy being sick and all, a lot of small liquor stores are bound to feel the crunch soon.

  7. If Obama were an honest liberal he would veto pork to pay for public works projects. Though I have a feeling that the public works will be indistinguishable from pork.

    Look forward to more ice rinks coming soon near you.

  8. The Small Business Administration guaranteed $82 million in loans for 331 liquor stores, including Spanky’s Liquor World and Pistol Pete’s Beef N’ Beer.

    Isn’t a loan a way for the gubmint to make money? Honest question, ’cause it doesn’t seem like the usual examples of wasteful spending.

    Please drop the hammer on me if I fail at economics.

  9. People all over the world (Everybody),
    Join hands (Join).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp.

    People all over the world (All the world, now),
    Join hands (Don’t hide).
    Launch a spy blimp (Don’t hide), spy blimp.

    The next stop that we make will be soon,
    Tell all the folks in Russia, and China, too.
    Don’t you know that it’s time to get on board,
    And let this blimp keep on spying, spying on you.

    Well, well.
    People all over the world (You don’t need no money),
    Join hands (Come on).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp (Don’t need to picket, come on).

    People all over the world (Join in, don’t hide from this blimp),
    Join in (Don’t hide from this blimp, y’all).
    Launch a spy blimp (Come on, blimp), spy blimp.

    All of you brothers over in Africa,
    Tell all the folks in Egypt, and Israel, too.
    Please don’t mess with this blimp while it’s spyin’,
    ‘Cause if you mess with it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.

    Well,
    People all over the world (Sisters and brothers),
    Join hands (Join, come on).
    Launch a spy blimp (Don’t hide from this blimp, y’all), spy blimp (Come on).

    People all over the world (Don’t need to picket),
    Join hands (Come on, don’t hide).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp.

    Spy, let it spy,
    Let it spy,
    Let it spy.

    People, ain’t no war,
    People all over the world (Love this blimp),
    Join in (Don’t hide from the blimp).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp (Don’t hide from the blimp, y’all).

    People all over the world (Come on),
    Join hands (You can’t hide or run, yeah).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp (Spyin’ above).

    People all over the world (‘Round the world, y’all),
    Join hands (Come on).
    Launch a spy blimp, spy blimp.

  10. The ‘spy blimp’ thing isn’t entirely dumb – think Predator with longer dwell times. And IIRC Gates is for it, so to say ‘the military doesn’t want it’ requires some nuance.

  11. I’m not commenting on the military utility of the spy blimp; I just note that the words “Spy Blimp” have the same cadence as the words “Love Train”.

  12. 3.2 million for a spy blimp? They could pick one up much cheaper secondhand from the Paul campaign.

    Pro Lib FTW. Even the O’Jays agree.

  13. 3.2 million for a spy blimp? They could pick one up much cheaper secondhand from the Paul campaign.

    And that, Alanis, would be irony.

  14. How exactly are loans from the small business administration to small businesses wasteful? Maybe Coburn’s a teetotaler. If so, fuck him.

  15. $1.3 billion is nothing compared to $8.5 trillion you hypocritical sack of sh!t

  16. Seitz–

    The way I read it, these aren’t loans but rather loan guarantees. That usually means somebody else is making the loan, and the SBA promises to repay if the business goes under. It may not actually cost anything, but it might cost a bundle, depending on how many defaults there are.

  17. R C Dean | December 15, 2008, 12:05pm | #
    he voted for the TARP on the 2nd go around,

    Which raises the question: What was his price? What pork did he put in to make TARP worse before he would vote for it?

    If I remember, he voted for it the first time as well.

  18. My memory’s correct. He didn’t switch; he voted with the Senate majority the first time it came up. Really surprised me that he voted for it and Inhofe against. I’d have thought it would be the other way around.

  19. While there are certainly bound to be stupid ear marks (ie the blimp), others are a matter of locational perception of needed projects. But in any event, I really do wish people like McPain and Coburn would stop HIDING behind earmarks while the problem of social sec, medicare and medicaid are .. oh.. 3000x greater?

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