In the past year, the federal government spent $2 million to discover that kids like eating food that hasn't been sneezed on and another $200,000 studying how fish bones influenced social status hundreds of years ago in Tanzania. At least that's how one Republican lawmaker from Oklahoma characterizes it, the Week reports. Sen. James Lankford has released his second annual Federal Fumbles report detailing what he calls "wasteful and inefficient" federal spending. The report includes 100 examples of federal spending—totaling $247 billion—for studies, research, and more that Lankford doesn't believe the government needed to be involved in.
Take the Tanzanian fish bone thing, for instance, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Lankford says the NSF needs to focus more on the "national" in its name. "When we deal with foreign aid, we should simply deal with foreign aid that is to the benefit of the United States," he says in a press release. But the NSF argues that's exactly what it was doing. A spokesperson tells the Washington Post that the fish bone study was done with a low-income school in the US to "increase participation in science by underrepresented minorities." And the National Institutes of Health says finding out kids don't like sneezed-on food was only a small part of a study intended to figure out how children relate to food in order to promote lifetime healthy eating. (Bee scientist finds $140,000 grant from NSF—in his spam folder.)