March Madness: spending gone mad (rankings 65th-61st)

March 17, 2010

As the NCAA basketball tourney tips off (and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland sweeps the box office), Bankrupting America kicks off its own March Madness.  Starting today, we’ll bring you five examples every day through April 5 – the day of the NCAA finals – of the most absurd, wasteful, and downright mad government spending projects from recent years.  Here’s 65 through 61 (warning: throwing your computer in anger will do nothing to curb government over-spending):

65 The SEC plays musical chairs for $3.9 million

According to a report from the Inspector General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the commission spent $3.9 million in 2007 and 2008 to rearrange desks at their Washington D.C. headquarters.  “Taxpayers should be outraged, and we should be wholly mortified, to be wasting such an incredible amount of money and time on this,” said one SEC employee.

64 Go outside and play with your $2 million wooden arrows! And don’t shoot your sister!


In October 2008, TARP provided the equivalent of $2 million in tax exemptions to makers of children’s wooden arrows.  What’s next…wooden bullets?

63 – I’m so mad I could squish a $2 million grape!

The Center for Grape Genetics in Geneva, NY was given $2.192 million dollars in federal funds in 2009.  New York’s wine and grape industries generate $6 billion in annual sales.

On the topic of squishing grapes, how could we resist:

62 You might be a redneck if…you pay $350,000 to put your name on a NASCAR race car


The Federal Communications Commission paid $350,000 to sponsor a NASCAR driver, as part of its digital TV outreach.  And what gets the most attention in a NASCAR race? The crashes: the FCC car crashed in two out of the three races.

61 You know what we need? More astronauts…from Hawaii


In 2009 the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii was appropriated $2 million for the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii.

Check out our complete list of March Spending Madness (rankings 65th-1st)

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