JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 3, 2010
One of the challenges for crafting a fiscal stimulus is that the economic imperative demanded getting money out the door quickly, but the political imperative demanded avoiding any project that appeared wasteful. John McCain and Tom Coburn have produced their report chronicling "waste" in the stimulus. McCain's favorite method in such things is to seize upon any program that involves research into animals, because animals sound silly:
The Coburn-McCain report takes issue with stimulus spending on projects like one that entailed research on how cocaine affects monkeys. The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center was awarded $71,623 to study what the report calls, "Monkeys Getting High for Science."
Bonnie Davis, a spokeswoman for The Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, said the "small grant has helped protect very important research that will have significant impact on public health in regards to cocaine addiction and the issue of relapse."
Go a little further down the list and you'll find even bigger spending. The California Academy of Sciences is receiving nearly $1 million in stimulus funds to send researchers to the Southwest Indian Ocean Islands and East Africa to capture, photograph and analyze thousands of exotic ants.