Today, Sen. Tom Coburn released a scathing report on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and waste of taxpayer dollars. In the 115 page report, example after example of taxpayer funding abuse is identified and sourced Yet another story of our far flung bureaucrats and their many taxpayer financed boondoggles. According to the Coburn Report “CDC Off Center,” CDC spent $45 million over 5 years for agency-sponsored conferences. “Though professional conferences are essential in many fields, CDC-funded conferences appear to have evolved into an industry unto themselves that year after year meets Ã¢â?¬â?? often in the warmer climates during colder months Ã¢â?¬â?? to decry the lack of spending in their particular field. Even conference participants acknowledge that their colleagues travel from conference to conference essentially talking to each other and fighting each other over the pot of federal funding.” That’s exactly what they do and it needs to stop!!! The report also reminds us of the infamous CDC over-stating of the “obesity epidemic”. You remember, don’t you? It was March of 2004 and the CDC released a report claiming obesity caused 400,000 deaths a year. Citing new data sets, the CDC “adjusted” their obesity related deaths to 25,814 in April of 2005 and then, adjusted them again in June 2005, to a standard of “obesity is still bad” no matter the numbers. Then, we find in the report that the CDC funded a “Bar Night” for a San Francisco AIDS project and a “Manual on How to Throw an Alcohol Party” (pg 104 in the report). This is just too easy! I wonder how our acting anti-alcohol Surgeon General would feel about this? Do you ever wonder if there are staff meetings at HHS? Agenda Item #1 might be, I suggest, “Right hand tell Left Hand what we are doing.” Maybe Congress should set the table for regaining public confidence in government by instituting the recommendations of the Coburn Report. As this “CDC Off Center” report demonstrates, hundreds of millions of tax dollars are used for questionable purposes with often unknown or immeasurable results. For Coburn’s thoughts on how to get the CDC back on track (pg 112) and the complete study click here.
Amanda Kathryn Hydro is the Director of Policy Development at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.