Monday, October 27, 2014

Coburn releases his final government Wastebook

Outgoing Sen. Tom Coburn’s final rendition of his government Wastebook was released this week, chronicling $25 billion worth of wasteful spending on 100 “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects.” “Washington politicians are more focused on their own political futures than the future of our country,” Coburn declares in the introduction of the publication. “And with no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem again isn’t just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” The lawmaker’s 182-page report provides example of government’s wasteful use of taxpayer dollars at all levels, pointing out examples everywhere from the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department to the National Science Foundation.   Here are just a few examples of the sort of waste Coburn highlights:

  • Here is a response to "refute" some of the criticism regarding the value of these scientific studies. Even when the nuances of these studies are explained by the researchers or their representatives, we still have to wonder at their value.  While any insanity can be represented in such a fashion to seem rational we must ask ourselves - irrespective of how interesting the results may be - do these explanations justify these kinds of monetary outlays that have gone on for decades?  Outlays that seem to me to amount to not much more than academic welfare!  We now know that between 80% and 90 % of all studies are incapable of being replicated.  We now know in medical research “80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials. The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views. “You can question some of the details of John’s calculations, but it’s hard to argue that the essential ideas aren’t absolutely correct,” says Doug Altman, an Oxford University researcher who directs the Centre for Statistics in Medicine.” 
At some point these rationalizations must be recognized for what they are. 

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