With bloated federal budgets pushing the United Statesdeeper and deeper into debt, you'd think Congress finally would be putting astop to wasteful government spending. Not a chance. Despite all the handwringing over the rapidly approaching"fiscal cliff" and a debt exceeding $16 trillion, lawmakers havevoted to squander tax money on everything from what astronauts might eat onMars to mind-numbing musicals about global warming. Last week Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, released his annual"Wastebook," which spotlights 100 examples of absurdly wastefulgovernment spending from the previous year. The items on this year's list add up to $18 billion ingovernment waste. While even Coburn admits that's just a tiny fraction of the$3.7 trillion federal budget, it illustrates how carelessly Washingtondispenses with taxpayers' hard-earned money. "Each of the 100 entries highlighted by this report isa direct result of politicians who are preoccupied with running for re-electionrather than running the country, which is what they were elected to do in thefirst place," Coburn said in the report. Wasteful Government Spending: 13 Mind-Blowing ExpensesInstead of just bickering about wasteful government spending, Congress shouldget the ball rolling by going after all the low-hanging fruit in the federalbudget. Here are 13 of the most wasteful government spendingexamples in 2012, and they all but beg for the budget ax: Little Green Menus: NASA spends $1 million a year ondeveloping recipes for foods which astronauts could prepare while visitingMars, even though the agency has no plans to go there any time soon. But justin case NASA changes its mind someday, it wants to ensure that astronauts onMars don't experience "menu fatigue." Why Fruit Flies Fall in Love: The National Institutes ofHealth spent $939,771 on research that has discovered male fruit flies are moresexually attracted to younger female fruit flies. "Video of theencounter," the scientists wrote, "showed that the male was much moreattracted to the young fly." If you thought those were bad, they get even worse... Mood-Enhancing Reruns: The NIH squandered another $666,905for a study into why people enjoy watching re-runs of old TV shows likeSeinfeld. "There is something special and comfortable about a"relationship' in which you already know what the other person is going tosay and do," the study's lead investigator wrote. No Cartoonist Left Behind: Who can dispute the key rolecartoonists play in the American economy? Not the state of Vermont, which isspending $255,000 of a Community Development Block Grant to build the InkySolomon Center, a program to help out graduates of the Center for CartoonStudies. Sweet Deal: Clearly America does not have enough cupcakespecialty shops. No surprise, then, that the Small Business Administrationponied up $2 million in loan guarantees for 10 cupcake shops across thecountry. Should any of the shops taste failure, however, it's the taxpayer thatwill get burned. Gee, Your Fur Smells Terrific: Another business apparentlyin dire need of taxpayer support is pet toiletries. Or so thought the state ofNebraska, which gave $505,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds toSergeant's Pet Care Products, Inc. The company will earn about $140 million inrevenue this year. Fouled Up: Did you know the National Football League is anon-profit organization, just like your favorite charity? Because of a loopholein the tax code, several professional sports leagues -- including the NFL, theNational Hockey League, and the Professional Golfers' Association -- qualify asnon-profits, making them eligible for tens of millions of dollars in tax breakseach year. Got Caviar?: The U.S. Department of Agriculture spent$300,000 this year to promote the purchase of caviar, a $400-an-ounce luxuryfood few Americans can afford. The program does have an outside chance ofsucceeding, however -- caviar is an eligible item under the federal food stampprogram. No Road, No Problem: The state of Ohio is spending $520,000of federal money to repair an unused covered bridge that services no road andactually has "No Trespassing" signs posted on it. The county engineerwho applied for the grant explains: "This is money set aside in atransportation bill by senators and congressmen, and if I didn't get it,someone else would." Robosquirrel: Researchers at San Diego State University andUniversity of California -Davis spent part of a $325,000 grant to build a robotsquirrel to see if they could trick snakes into mistaking it for the realthing. Researchers describe the Robosquirrel as "a taxidermied actual squirrelthat is stored with live squirrels so it smells real." Nagging Urinals: The Michigan State Police spent $10,000 on400 urinal deodorant cakes for use in bars and restaurants. But these aren'tjust any urinal cakes - they talk. When a male approaches, it triggers thismessage, read in a female voice: "Listen up. That's right! I'm talking toyou. Had a few drinks? Maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone elsea favor. Call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don't forget. Wash your hands." It's Just Your Imagination: The National Science Foundationgave Purdue University $350,000 to figure out whether golfers could improvetheir putting by imagining that the hole is bigger. "[P]erceived increasein target size will boost confidence in one's abilities," the researchersconcluded. Climate Change - The Musical: The NSF provided another$697,177 to fund the creation of a fact-filled musical about global warmingthat only Al Gore could love. Entitled "The Great Immensity," theproduction failed to impress at least one critic: "Many of the songssounded like a Wikipedia entry set to music," he wrote. "Theaudience...spent an evening visibly fighting off sleep."