Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona recently released his “Wastebook,” which outlines 100 examples of government misspending your tax dollars recently.
The 63rd example in Flake’s “Wastebook” involves none other than the University of Arkansas.
From the report:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending $121,250 to study the “culture of smoking” in Russia. The findings will be published in a book entitled “Cigarettes and Soviets: The Culture of Tobacco Use in Modern Russia” to be authored by Trish Starks, a historian at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The NIH “grant money mainly will be used to pay for a teaching substitute while Starks writes the book, she said.” “The goal of this project is to create an ambitious and encompassing social, cultural, and gendered history of tobacco in Russia,” explains Starks. “Expanding beyond policy reports and internal ministry memos, the monograph will reconstruct the culture of tobacco using newspapers, journals, industry publications, etiquette manuals, propaganda posters, popular literature, films, cartoons, and advertising images.”
This historical treatise sounds like a real page-turner. I’ll be sure to put it on my wish list for Christmas next year. I’ll be incredibly interested to read it — just to find out what exactly “gendered history of tobacco” actually means. This is why proles like myself don’t get six-figure federal grants from the NIH.
Perhaps this funding could have been better spent researching how to save the lives of the more than 480,000 Americans who die every year as a result of smoking, which remains the leading cause of preventable death in our nation.
Americans have enough health problems. It’s not necessary for the federal government to spend our tax dollars on “gendered” solutions to Russians’ health problems.
Other examples of government waste in Flake’s “Wastebook” include taxpayer funding of research involving monkeys running on a treadmill, a “Help A Hipster” campaign in California, and research on (believe it or not) “pizza addiction.”