Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma has released his Wastebook report (PDF) that highlights what he considers wasteful government spending. One project highlighted is the Squeaks Discovers Type! comic book published by the GPO earlier this year. From the WasteBook:
Comic Superhero Mouse Teaches History of Printing - (Government Printing Office) $31,350
The Government Printing Office (GPO) is using a ―video game space mouse (and nearly $60,000 in taxpayer funds64) to teach children the history of printing.65
In September, the GPO released its first-ever comic book, ―Squeaks Discovers Type, in which Squeak the Space Mouse explores the history of the printed word, from cuneiform to the Internet age,66 and explains ―why printing is important.67
The opening page features a school boy grumbling about the report he was assigned on the invention of printing, leading the superhero rodent to exclaim, ―He thinks printing is boring! This is a job for Squeaks!68
Anticipating high demand, the office printed 5,500 copies of the title. 69
Even if the title sells out, it looks to be a money- loser: GPO sells the book for $5 a copy, 70 recording an estimated $5.70 loss for every book sold. The GPO calls that loss a ―marketing expense, part of its effort to educate the public on its mission.
Taxpayers - who footed the bill for the project - might have another name for it.
The GPO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.