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Why are Americans angry?

A recent CNN poll found that 30% of Americans are "very angry" and 38% are "somewhat angry" about the way things are going in the country.

As CNN's Mark Preston points out, such strong feelings could significantly impact this year's midterm elections, but we have a different concern: why are Americans feeling this way?

There are, of course, hundreds of possible reasons. The mishandling of Ebola and ISIS, the healthcare debacle, and the VA scandal all contribute to Americans' feelings of anger.

But there is another issue worth mentioning, an issue that crosses party lines and has characterized the federal government for decades: waste. Perhaps more than any other misstep, wasting taxpayer dollars communicates that the American people really don't matter to those in Washington.

And as Senator Tom Coburn reveals in his new publication Wastebook, the number of tax dollars Washington throws away each year is astonishing.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Thousands of vehicles that sit idly in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) parking lots. Cost: $48.6 million.
  • A study that found spouses stab voodoo dolls more often when they’re “hangry.” Cost: $331,000.
  • Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys. Cost: $50,000.
  • A study for how Penn State can boost morale after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Cost: $41,000.
  • A project that studied the gambling habits of monkeys. Cost: $171,361.
  • A play about Bruce Lee. Cost: $70,000.
  • A “marijuana themed musical” in Colorado. Cost: $15,000.
  • A video game that teaches parents how to feed their kids vegetables. Cost: $1,552,145.
  • A project to investigate if mothers have a different emotional reaction to pictures of their dogs over pictures of their children. Cost: $371,026.
  • State of the art gym memberships for desk workers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Cost: $450,000
  • A project by the Pentagon to destroy $16 billion worth of ammunition. Cost: $1,000,000,000.

In total, Sen. Coburn found $25 billion spent on 100 “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects,” this year. It's no wonder Americans are angry.

What can be done about the atrocious use of taxpayer dollars? One thing is for sure: no matter who is elected this cycle, it won't get any better.

But there is still hope. A Convention of States can propose a balanced budget amendment to force the federal government to use its money wisely. Sen. Coburn himself endorses this idea. He said,

It’s time for the people to take back their country. The plan put forth by Convention of States is a great way to do just that by using the process the founders gave us for reigning in the federal government.

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