Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) put out a new report titled: “Wastebook: PORKemon Go” to call out the ways the government wasted our money in 2016. The title compares government waste to the popular Pokemon Go game, as the report explains that like the game in which Pokemon can be found everywhere, so can government waste.
“The end of the year brings big promises for a new year and an even bigger pile of bills racked up during the season that has just passed,” the report stated, according to the New York Post. “This is particularly true in our nation’s capital.”
What kinds of things did the government think fit to spend our hard-earned taxpayer dollars on? Take a look at some of the most egregious examples from Flake’s 201-page, 50-item report.
- The National Eye Institute and National Science Foundation
- $300,000 to let us all know that little girls play with Barbie dolls more than little boys and can pick out their faces more readily among other dolls. Seriously.
- The report read: “Our nation’s most prestigious science agencies are literally playing with dolls, to study what is obvious to children who haven’t even graduated from preschool yet — whether boys or girls spend more time playing with Barbie dolls.”
- The National Science Foundation and UC San Diego took $1.5 million to study a mudskipper fish on a treadmill to assess the animal’s flopping speed and how much oxygen it needed.
- The report read: “We had monkeys on a treadmill last year. We’ve had shrimp on a treadmill before,” Flake said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “Obviously some people want to know what happens when these fish get on a treadmill but ‘don’t we have better things to spend money on’ is, I think, the question most Americans have.”
- The National Science Foundation and Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research spent $460,000 so computers could do what millions of Americans do on the weekend — binge watch T.V. shows.
- The Post reported that the money was spent “so that computers could binge watch 600 hours of TV shows and 400 hours of online videos — all to see if an algorithm could be built to predict when characters would hug, kiss, shake hands or exchange a high five. Prime-time soap ‘Desperate Housewives’ and sitcom ‘The Office’ were among big targets of this artificial intelligence study, ‘Wastebook’ found.”
- The report pointed out: “Perhaps a marathon of soap operas and sitcoms is not the best way to teach computers, robots, or any other form or intelligence — real or artificial — to understand human behavior.”
- The Wastebook report found that $200 million was spent by the FAA to build and upgrade the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois — an airport that reportedly has only one airline that operates out of it.