Rand Paul issues 'Festivus Edition' of The Waste Report
Read it and weep, taxpayers.
Every Christmas since he took office, Senator Rand Paul has issued a "Waste Report" on government spending. This year, Senator Paul has outdone himself in finding the stupid, inane, shocking, maddening, and depressing examples of how our federal government spends the hard-earned tax dollars of citizens.
So here we are, another year past, another year to forget. A government shutdown resolved by hiking spending; nuked budget caps; a debt over $21 trillion; and Congress okayed $1.3 trillion in new spending – all in the first three months! An October 2018 report from the Congressional Budget Office showed net interest payments on the debt for fiscal year 2018 at $371 billion, $62 billion more than payments for fiscal year 2017. Given such largesse, it may seem like a few million dollars is a drop in the bucket. But to borrow from a line credited to former Senator Everett Dirksen(R-IL): "a million dollars here and there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."
This year, The Waste Report is highlighting $114,514,631 of wasted money. We feature an old favorite due for an update and some instant classics, like a study of daydreaming. Exactly where taxes should go, right? No matter how much federal agencies waste, politicians think they've never got enough. But if there's money to waste, there's too much already. So, before the Feats of Strength can begin, there must be an Airing of (spending) Grievance.
Just a few examples from the Waste Report:
1. Since 2009, the State Department has allocated more than $76 million to provide stipends to the nearly non-existent Somali army.
2. The Agriculture Department spent more than $13 million to promote the already overcrowded farmers' market industry.
3.The U.S. embassy in Rwanda spent more than $250,000 to teach citizens how to lobby.
4. The National Endowment for the Arts spent $15,000 on "theatrical research" to combat poverty.
5. NIH spent more than $800,000 to study the sex lives of quails high on cocaine.
On and on it goes – thousands upon thousands of line items in the budget for useless programs that not only are questionable expenditures on their face, but raise questions about whether the federal government should even be funding these things.
Senator Paul informs us that he's found an astonishing $114 billion of such waste in the budget. When the government spends more than $4 trillion a year, and runs a deficit of nearly a trillion dollars, the $114 billion in waste is an asterisk in the budget. But as Paul points out, it costs more than $8,000 to the average taxpayer. That's nothing to sneeze at.
Congress doesn't care. The federal budget has taken on a life of its own, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on auto-pilot with no oversight and no controls. But Congress doesn't care because the people don't care. No congressman or senator has ever been defeated because he voted to spend too much in tax dollars.
Until they start to lose, the situation will continue.