By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

What better way to spend $145,000 in 1978 — $610,000 in 2021 dollars — in a desert city than to install a wave-making machine in a specially designed Olympic sized swimming pool?

The money was doled out by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.

It’s for that wasteful and nonsensical spending that Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave a Golden Fleece award to the department.

“It can be said that for the first time, federal bureaucrats are making waves,” Proxmire said when giving the award. “In the meantime, the taxpayers are getting soaked.”

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The four-foot surf created by the machine “will provide a recreation experience not available in an inland society — an experience of the rushing water of a river or wave action you can only get at the ocean,” local officials said at the time.

“Based on this rationale, hard-pressed taxpayers will next be asked to fund ski slopes in Florida, mountain scenery in Indiana, igloos in Death Valley, or tropical rain forests in Wisconsin,” Proxmire quipped.

The 180-foot long, 17,500 square-foot wave pool was part of a larger project that includes a marina, boat ramp, bath house, and parking lot, costing more than $1 million.

“This project is merely one of a number of surf making machines paid for in whole or in part by the federal government,” Proxmire said. “So, the overburdened taxpayer is drowned in the undertow of federal spending. And other projects similar to the Salt Lake City project have been approved for construction in Kentucky and Mississippi, according to Bureau of Outdoor Recreation officials.”

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

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