Budgets

Wastebook: Taxpayers billed for computers to binge watch 'Desperate Housewives'

Mike Emanuel reports from Washington, D.C.

 

The federal government spent millions of taxpayer dollars studying if women can pick Barbie out of a lineup, creating robot flowers, and building a computer that binge watches "Desperate Housewives," according to a new report on wasteful spending.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R.-Ariz., on Tuesday released Wastebook: PORKémon Go, the latest chronicle of waste in a series started by former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican. The report covers 50 items and more than $5 billion in spending on outrageous government programs and frivolous projects.

“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 wrote in the introduction to the report. “But rather than making a long overdue resolution to be fiscally responsible, the promises from Washington are to spend even more.”

The report revealed countless examples of questionable science spending, including $300,000 from the National Eye Institute and National Science Foundation studying whether women or men spent more time playing with Barbie dolls when they were children.

“The researchers’ intuition was that men may have played more with Transformers then [sic] Barbies when they were younger, and vice versa for women,” according to the report.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University also studied whether women were able to identify the real Barbie in a lineup of other dolls, challenging the “popular misconception that all Barbie dolls have the same face,” a researcher said. 

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