House GOP Majority Leader Calls World of Warcraft Study Wasteful Spending

House GOP majority leader Eric Cantor called out a study by North Carolina State University related to World of Warcraft's ability to "boosts cognitive functioning in some older adults" a waste of tax payer dollars. The study was paid for by a $1.2 million federal grant. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement released this week that this kind of spending is the cause of the country’s debt. He also listed property maintenance, vacations for federal agencies, and the Internal Revenue Service’s TV studio as other areas of the federal budget that were a waste.

The study he is referring to followed the benefits of senior ages 60 – 77 who spent two weeks playing the popular online game. The results showed that seniors saw improved cognitive skills, including an increase in spatial awareness and focus. The improvements were highly noticeable in those seniors who previously scored low in those areas.

Of course anyone can cherry pick items from the federal budget and find something that they can call "wasteful spending." After all, the budget is full of grants that – at a glance – seem to support frivolous research, or support local endeavors to build things like libraries or stadiums, or that subsidize a certain industry. It's not always fair to point these things out but it makes for great political grand standing and theater.

Source: GamesBeat


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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    After constitutional decisions regarding the commerce clause, there really is no such thing as a 'simple' constitutional test for spending…. thus yes, it would and does take a bureacucry to decide such things.  The test is already in there since there are recurring arguments about the constitutionality of various programs all the time, and they generally spend years winding their way through the courts to figure out if they are or not.

    For that matter, have you ever seen how complex it is to even figure out how much money is moving around?  Even good size companies require reams of accountants to produce basic stats on what they are actually spending and taking in, and it gets even more complex if you start talking about finantial services industry like banks.  Governments?  Simplicity is a storybook idea.

    That is not to say they shouldn't be working twoards getting their house in order and fixing spending, but it is important to acknoweldge just how difficult of a task it is.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    It doesn't take a federal bureaucracy to determine the constitutionality of federal spending. It just takes one Congress determined to reign in spending. That is why Congress is the one creating a budget for the year. 

    Just like a family that is overspending itself into bankruptcy. They don't have to hire a team of accountants and financial planners to balance their budget. They just need to sit down and cut unnecessary spending. 

    If all new spending had to be accompanied with a Constitutional analysis supporting it, it would go a long way to curb over spending. 

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  3. 0
    Imautobot says:

    They keep adding things to the constitution to make things constitutional.  

    I'm cool with them axing money to these types of studies, but that also means they can't turn around and decide to fund a study to determine a correlation between game violence and real violence.  And you know they're chomping at that bit, so….  yeah.

  4. 0
    Neeneko says:

    One problem with that approach though is as you increase the oversight, more and more of the cost not only  goes into the buecracy and oversight on the funding end, but more and more of the researcher's time and resources go into it too, which comes out of the grant.

    It is a tricky balance, but having worked in publicly funded research I can attest that a huge amount of time and resources are already being spent in 'making sure money is well spent', and increasing that block will likely result in an even worse return on tax dollars.

  5. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    "It's not always fair to point these things out"

    Sure it's fair. It is completely fair to point out areas of waste when we have annual deficits of $1+ trillion and a national debt of over $16 trillion and growing. If we don't start pointing out areas that the government can and should stop spending in, we will never close that deficit and never reach a point where the debt can actually be paid off. We cannot continue this level of spending in perpetuity. At some point, if nothing is done, the Federal budget will collapse and take the whole US economy with it.

    I say that every dollar the Federal government spends needs to be analyzed and a determination needs to be made on whether that dollar is being spent on something the US Constitution authorizes. If it does not, the program should be cut. Once we reach a point where federal spending matches federal revenue, we need to continue until we have enough revenue over spending to actually pay down debt in a reasonable 20 or so years worth of time.

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  6. 0
    Sora-Chan says:

    I personally find spending tax money on studies into the supposed link between violence and video games to be a waste of the money, and time.  But you don't hear me complain that much about it.

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    Bennett Beeny says:

    I think Eric Cantor's education is evidence of his parents' wasteful spending. Maybe he'd change his tune if one of his family suffered from Alzheimers.

    If he's really that concerned about wasteful spending, maybe he should take a quick glance at the military budget.

  8. 0
    Hevach says:

    There's a lot of poorly chosen arts and science grants, but they are far from the cause of the country's debt. If you cut them all off entirely nobody would even notice the change in budget, toss in all the things he mentions here and some of his past targets (NPR, PBS, Amtrak, and NASA) and you're barely starting to make a dent (NASA being pretty much the entire dent), but then most of that dent is then offset by defense spending taking over some of NASA's defense related programs.

    There's an interesting pattern in government thinking: $2 million for silly research is wasteful, but $2 billion for ships that go from the shipyard directly to the surplus yard and later directly to the scrap yard having never seen use is sacred untouchable spending. It makes Steve Jobs leasing a new car every six months to avoid paying registration seem reasonable.

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