Joke-telling robots, expensive walking tunnels, Blackberries for smokers, and training American prostitutes to drink responsibly. What do these things have in common? They’re all questionable government spending projects in a time when our economy is struggling and people can’t get jobs.…or, maybe we just made them up.
Put yourself to the test. Click below to watch our man-on-the-street video. See if you can outwit the Rebel Economist before she stumps you. So what is it: REAL or FAKE?
Want to learn more about the projects featured in the video, the waste in your state and hundreds more examples? (Even better: want to do something about it?) Try our Spending #FAIL Map, which allows you to choose the spending projects of your (dis)liking, share the facts with others on Facebook, and call and tweet your member of Congress.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Project Cost: $712,883
Northwestern University received $712,883 to develop a model of machine-generated humor. The project will “create intelligent comedic performance agents and deploy them both on- and off-line for the enjoyment and illumination of everyday citizens.”
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Project Cost: $3.4 million
A project to build a tunnel for turtles to pass under a Florida highway has received $3.4 million in stimulus funds. The millions are, as reported, still not enough to completely finance the project.
Location: Washington, DC
Project Cost: $1 million
Almost $1 million in stimulus funds were used to give out free BlackBerry smartphones to people trying to stop smoking. The phones will reportedly make it easier for those trying to quit to access a support network.
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Project Cost: $2.6 million
A five-year $2.6 million grant (2008) will help a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher establish and evaluate whether an alcohol and HIV intervention center can assist in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among sex workers in China.