As 2016 finally comes to a close, it’s time to review how the Federal government continues to squander taxpayer dollars on various initiatives and programs. Unfortunately for the average American, the list of government waste is long and packed with numerous examples of needless spending projects.  

Let’s look at one glaring example. 

As Senator James Lankford (R-OK) demonstrates in his annual report “Federal Fumbles,” the NEH, NEA, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services came together to spend an irresponsible $495,000 on an exhibit titled, “A Sense of Beauty: Medieval Art and the Five Senses” earlier this year. This showcase was planned to include “130 works of art focusing on the senses created from the 12th to 16th centuries”, as it sought to provide attendees with a unique sensory glimpse into the medieval era. 

Not only has this exhibit failed to open promptly (it was planned for fall of this year), there exists an entirely separate 85-day exhibition relating to the same topic that will feature before 2016 is over.

This is a perfect example of wasteful spending for a number of reasons.

To start, Congress has a huge overspending problem to focus on and taxpayer dollars should not be funding such a frivolous project that will have a minimal impact on their daily lives. Secondly, generating private donations to pay for it shouldn’t be a difficult feat to accomplish if there’s enough public interest. Lastly, even if this kind of spending could be justified, having three different agencies splashing taxpayer dollars on the exhibit would be extraordinarily wasteful; especially when one agency doing so would suffice.

Funding the arts may be an important element of the American tradition; but, when faced with an impending budgetary crisis that endangers the wellbeing of future Americans, funding an exhibit that highlights the smells of a historical period hundreds of years in the past should most certainly not be a priority of the Federal government. Although the cost of the program only totals to $495,000, this is just one of many different spending projects that will cumulatively seek to waste millions (or billions) of hard-working Americans’ tax dollars. 

President-Elect Donald Trump claimed on the campaign trail that he seeks to curtail the “…tremendous waste, fraud, and abuse” that is present within government. Given the ever-increasing list of wasteful government programs that are enacted each year, this is hopefully not an empty promise.