The latest from YouCut:
Rep. Adrian Smith (NE) is featured in the first round of a new experiment with YouCut - the first YouCut Citizen Review of a government agency.
Together, we will identify wasteful spending that should be cut and begin to hold agencies accountable for how they are spending your money.
First, we will take a look at the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Congress created the NSF in 1950 to promote the progress of science. For this purpose, NSF makes more than 10,000 new grant awards annually, many of these grants fund worthy research in the hard sciences. Recently, however NSF has funded some more questionable projects - $750,000 to develop computer models to analyze the on-field contributions of soccer players and $1.2 million to model the sound of objects breaking for use by the video game industry. Help us identify grants that are wasteful or that you don't think are a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Congressman Smith's new venture made a splash on the USA Today technology blog as well. Read ahead:
Whom to start with? Well, perhaps Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., who last month joined a hoary political fraternity of elected officials unhappy with National Science Foundation grants. "Many of these grants fund worthy research in the hard sciences," Smith said in a recent budget-cutting video, noting NSF's roster of Nobel winners. "But recently NSF has funded some projects I want to know your thoughts on," he added, citing two grants:
•"University academics," he said, had been awarded a $750,000 grant "to develop computer models to analyze the on-field contributions of soccer players."
• Another $1.2 million grant went "to model the sound of objects breaking for use by the video game and movie industries."
Suggesting the average family pays $10,000 in taxes, Smith asked whether "75 families should work all year to support soccer research" and called for folks to plow through the $6.9 billion NSF's website to look for similarly dodgy-sounding grants, using keywords such as "success, culture, media, games, social norm, lawyers, museum, leisure, stimulus."
Smith joins a long tradition of politicians, going back at least as far as the late Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., who in 1975 kicked off the Golden Fleece awards, with one given to a federally funded study of "The Sex Life of the Screw-Worm Fly."