Government Waste Hurts our Veterans ~ Notes from The American Legion

By: John Lenotte, American Legion
December, 2014

As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are upon us, let us not forget the men and women in our military, most of who will not be with their families this season. This is a sacrifice that most cannot imagine unless they have been through it. Ask what you can do to help them and their families, some of whom may be in need at this time of year. This year, the American Legion is partnering with the Oak Ridge Boys who will perform a Christmas Special, which is also a fundraiser to help veterans. For additional information, check out this website HERE

And now that the elections are behind us, Congress will be back in session for a short time and then back to work with new members and leaders in January. I have recently come across some information that I will share with all of you. This is from US Senator Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma. I will admit to being a long standing Democrat. But this Senator has some interesting information that he shares about government waste. I am going to mention just a few items from his one hundred plus page document which can be found HERE


Senator Coburn points to $25 billion in wasted money by the government,your tax dollars and mine. Here are a few examples:

In 2014, eleven federal agencies spent over $50 million paying government employees on administrative leave, one-third of which was for disciplinary reasons.

The National Institutes of Health provided $387 thousand for a two year project to study how rabbits reacted to a simulated Swedish massage. The US Army created a free online shooter game back in 2002. As of 2009, the amount spent came to at least $33 million although originally budgeted for $7 million. The National Science Foundation paid $560 thousand to run shrimp on a tiny treadmill. Another study funded a grant worth $856 thousand to teach three captive mountain lions to use a treadmill. You may have heard about the issues with private companies doing government background checks.

One company was paid $124.3 million to conduct security clearance background checks. This past January, this same company was accused by the US Department of Justice of submitting 665 thousand fake investigations. State and local governments have subsidized the building of sports stadiums to the tune of $146 million. Another National Institutes of Health grant for $371 thousand studied if mothers love dogs as much as their children. The US Coast Guard provides patrols to prevent uninvited guests to private parties. This is said to cost over $100 thousand. How about three government agencies support of the testing of a synchronized swim team of sea monkeys for a cost of over $307 thousand. The US State Department has a program to promote US culture around the world to the tune of $90 million each year. This has included public concerts, workshops, lectures and even a nose flutist. And even better, government officials traveled around the country at taxpayer expense to judge live auditions in New York City, St. Louis and San Francisco. How about golf club testing on the International Space Station? NASA has spent $3 billion on this facility. Yes, there are some good benefits. But testing golf clubs, examining if tadpole shrimp can be grown in microgravity? The last item I will mention is a $350 million rocket testing tower completed this year in Mississippi. It has no purpose and along with thirty-three other facilities that NASA has little or no future need will cost $43 million a year to maintain. This and MANY more are documented in the report.

And there are many state and local projects that we could all point to. Does your city or town have a building maintenance plan? It seems easier to just let the property fall apart and then either build a new one, or spend incredible amounts of money for repairs that could have cost much less if dealt with early on. If the roof in your home leaks, do you get it fixed right away, or wait until you have to replace the entire roof?

Does all of this make you frustrated? Angry? If so, you need to contact your elected officials and let them know. We vote them into office. They should be addressing our concerns. But they don’t know what those concerns are unless we let them know.

May God Bless our troops and their families this holiday season.

John Lenotte is the American Legion, Commander, Wilbur M. Comeau Post 4 Haverhill and Vice Commander, Dept. of Massachusetts. He is also the recipient of The Valley Patriot Hero Award. You can Email him at