WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's Wastebook 2013, released Tuesday with a comic book-like cover, focuses on 100 examples of what he calls "government mismanagement and stupidity" that has wastefully driven the nation's debt up to $17 Trillion.
"Collectively these cost nearly $30 billion in a year when Washington would have you believe everything that could be done has been done to control unnecessary spending," Coburn writes in the book's introduction. "Had just these 100 been eliminated, the sequester amount would have been reduced nearly a third without any noticeable disruption."
Coburn asks readers to ask themselves as they review the pages: Do each of these represent a real national priority that should be spared from budget cuts or are these excesses that should have been eliminated in order to spare deeper cuts to those services and missions that should be performed by the federal government?
"When it comes to spending your money, those in Washington tend to see no waste, speak no waste,and cut no waste," Coburn says. That includes the millions taxpayers paid to promote a Superman blockbuster.
One of the first wasteful projects listed in Wastebook 2013 is the $10 million the Army National Guard spent coordinating an enlistment drive with the release of last year's Hollywood hit "Superman: Man of Steel."
With the help of outside sources such as the Army National Guard, "Man of Steel" collected more than $160 million from over 100 promotional tie-ins. The movie itself has grossed over $662 million worldwide to date and it will earn more with its DVD release.
The Army National Guard’s budget did not fare as well as Superman’s. As a result of the spending restraints imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011, “the Army may have to reduce at least 100,000 additional personnel across the Total Force – the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. When coupled with previously planned cuts to end strength, the Army could lose up to 200,000 soldiers over the next ten years,” according to Army leadership.
Yet, the Army still spent $10 million to subsidize the promotion of Superman with the hopes of enlisting new recruits. This money could have been better spent on the real life supermen and superwomen in the Army National Guard who are courageously risking all in the fight for truth, justice, and the American way. As Superman flies away with massive profits from sponsors and ticket sales and the force size and budget of the Army National Guard shrinks, the U.S. national debt continues to go up, up and away.