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I'm Just Sayin':We are losing a warrior for the people

By DuWayne Paul - Echo Press Columnist

Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) is retiring soon due to health concerns. It will be a sad day for the American people. I have watched Sen. Coburn for some time now and have grown to admire and appreciate someone who serves the people rather than any particular agenda. He is a Republican who fought with Newt Gingrich when both were in the House of Representatives, and partnered with Barack Obama when both were in the Senate. It is the principle of the issue that matters to him and doing the right thing for the American people is what has driven him. He is a rare breed of politician and reminds me of the Founding Fathers.

Sen. Coburn is a physician and understands health care issues as well or better than anyone on Capitol Hill. He is a fiscal conservative and has tirelessly fought against wasteful government spending and crony capitalism in Washington, D.C. It is with the spending issues in Washington that he has made a name for himself in the last few years with his annual publications regarding wasteful spending. The Wastebook 2013 was recently released and points out nearly $30 billion in unnecessary spending by the federal government. Granted, that is less than 1 percent of what the government spends in a year, but think of how many teachers, firefighters, and first responders could be funded with that. Not to mention other critical health and safety issues.

Here are a few of the ridiculous things we pay for with our taxes, along with my comments underlined:

• $1 million to the Popular Romance Project with the National Endowment of the Humanities to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs…..” – Who are these people?

• $7 billion worth of military weapons and vehicles left in the Middle East as war efforts wind down. – It would be cheaper to ship this stuff back and use it rather than destroy it and buy new. • Nearly $500 million (and counting) spent on a website that doesn’t work (healthcare.gov) for a program a majority of Americans don’t want. - Nuff said. • $3 million assigned to NASA to study how Congress works. – Apparently the search for intelligent life has expanded beyond space and now includes Congress. Good luck with that. • $631 million spent on 21 C-27 transport planes manufactured in Italy over the protests from the Defense Department. – The planes were never operational. Half of them will be mothballed and the others sold for scrap. • By a provision in the Tax Code, brothels in Nevada are getting a $17.5 million tax break. – You can thank Harry Reid for that. • NASA spent $125,000 to study making pizza in outer space using a 3-D printer. – Just take along some frozen pizzas and a microwave. But, that would be too simple. • The Navy spent $297 million for a Mega-Blimp that was intended for intelligence gathering in wartime. It made one 90 minute flight over New Jersey and was sold back to the contractor who built it for $301,000. New Jersey is a war zone? The list goes on and includes things like a comic superheroes documentary, a bed-rest study, and tourism ads for New Jersey after super storm Sandy. You can read it for yourself on the Internet or get access to it at Tom Coburn’s website.

It just never ceases to amaze me how our federal government can be so loose with our money and feel like they are not responsible to the people. I’m just sayin’.

• • •

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke • • •

DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.

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