Every so often, I share stories about the ridiculous and outrageous way in which the federal government squanders our money.
- Forcing taxpayers to pay millions of dollars for pro-Obamacare and pro-IRS propaganda.
- Doing interviews – at a per-person cost of $6,000 – about erectile dysfunction and sticking the tab on us.
- Giving disability benefits to a grown man who wants to wear diapers and live as an “adult baby.”
- Squandering $400K on experimental underwear that detect cigarette smoke.
- Paying 35 times the market price for some Kindles.
- A $100,000 library grant to a city without a library.
- Throwing $100 million in the garbage by subsidizing a leftist bureaucracy in Paris that advocates for higher taxes in the United States.
So when I saw this New York Post story about the feds pissing away a six-figure sum on condom research, I figured this would be a perfect addition to my collection of government waste stories.
The federal government is stretching your tax dollars — in search of the perfect condom. The National Institutes of Health will spend $224,863 to test 95 “custom-fitted” condoms so every American man can choose the one that fits just right.
And it’s a good match with this story about Washington flushing away more than $400K on research about men not liking to wear condoms.
Do we really need to spend other people’s money to figure out that guys, if they have to wear condoms, would like them to fit?!?
But then I found something in the story that genuinely surprised me. Apparently there are federal regulations that restrict the types of condoms that can be sold in the United States!
The NIH blames US “regulatory guidelines” for American men having to choose from a “narrow range of condom sizes.” The six-figure grant was awarded to TheyFit of Covington, Ga., which offers a wide variety of condoms that vary in length — from a bit more than 3 inches to nearly 9 ¹/2 — and in width. They’re available in European Union countries, but not in the United States, where they would have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
I’m flabbergasted. I can vaguely understand why the government might regulate some aspects of condom production, such as durability rules to limit breakage. I don’t think such red tape is necessary because companies already plenty of incentive – because of both reputational risk and preemptive legal protection – to maintain good standards.
But at least you can see a rationale for bureaucrats to intervene.
I can’t imagine, though, what excuse regulators came up with when they decided to limit the variety of condom sizes. Maybe this is a literal example of the one-size-fits-all mentality of Washington?
And isn’t it embarrassing that Europeans have a more market-friendly approach on this issue?
Though none of us should be surprised that the Keystone Cops at the United Nations want to create a human right to obtain taxpayer-financed condoms.
At least Sandra Fluke will be happy about that.
P.S. Here’s a Glenn McCoy cartoon about Obama and subsidized condoms.
P.P.S. Since I started this post with examples of wasteful spending, but then decided that this story might belong in the category of absurd regulation, let’s close by sharing some examples of foolish red tape.
- Regulations making it difficult for trucking firms to weed out drunk drivers.
- Year-long sting operations by federal milk police.
- Rules harassing coffee shops with bikini-clad sales staff.
- OSHA requirements for expensive safety harnesses for people working 11 feet off the ground.