- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2016

The U.S. government spent more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars to study the question of whether cheerleaders appear more attractive when they are grouped together in a squad.

That’s just one of “Twenty Questions Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head,” according to a recent report from the office of Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican.

Another head-scratching study, Mr. Flake’s office noted, was one by the Department of Defense which asked, “Why does walking with coffee cause it to spill?” The price tag was $172,000, just a couple thousand shy of the base salary for a U.S. senator.

In his report, Mr. Flake contrasted the 20 studies he argues are dubious with 20 questions that he believes government bureaucrats should ask prior to funding a scientific study in order to prioritize spending and maximize benefit to the American taxpayer. “Will the proposed study enhance technology?” or “Will it improve our national defense?” for example.

“We ought to reevaluate a system that spends federal funds looking for America’s next top model over a cure for cancer. When federal agencies don’t spend our limited research dollars wisely, they’re not just wasting money, they’re missing opportunities, and we can’t afford either,” Mr. Flake said in a May 10 news release.

“It’s time that Washington set clear goals for federally-funded research, improved transparency to ensure tax dollars are being prioritized to meet to those goals, and reduced wasteful and duplicative spending on lesser priorities.”

PHOTOS: The 15 best cheerleading squads in the NFL

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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