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Life on Mars With Congress

If Sen. Patrick J. Toomey ever gets to Mars, he is willing to take his epicurean chances.

During a floor speech Thursday, the Pennsylvania Republican lamented the impending effect of the sequester on the Federal Aviation Administration’s coffers. He then outlined what he said are several examples of wasteful programs that should be cut, instead of allowing the sequester’s blunt approach.

“We spend money for a cowboy poetry festival,” Toomey said. “And a million dollars for taste-testing foods to be served on Mars.”

He also chided the government for spending “millions of dollars on an old-fashioned-style trolley in St. Louis, millions on a sports diplomacy exchange program.”

According to Toomey’s office, which learned of these examples from Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s “Waste Book,” the United States has set aside $35 million for the St. Louis trolley, $5.5 million for sports diplomacy, $1 million for professionals to taste “Mars appropriate” food and $50,000 on a cowboy poetry festival.

Apart from the trolley project, these seem to be kind of chump change in the government spending scheme of things.

But wait! There’s more! According to the same list, a quick deletion of the federal government’s cellphone subsidy program could save $1.5 billion lickety-split!

Of course, we hasten to point out that Toomey was part of the supercommittee whose failure to reach a deficit-cutting proposal resulted in the sequester. And, although Congress just now seems to be paying attention to how the sequester will work, it’s had, oh, more than a year to work out alternative ways of cutting the budget.

Just saying.

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