Rand Paul's annual waste report illustrates fiscal insanity
Senator Rand Paul recently came out with his annual "Waste Report," showing how the federal government treats taxpayers as a baby treats a diaper. Or, for the squeamish, as Michael Moore treats a jelly donut.
Topping the list is $48 billion in improper Medicaid and Medicare payments. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent $582 billion on Medicare alone during fiscal year 2018, making it the second most expensive program after Social Security. Misallocating over 8% of those dollars should be concerning. The fact that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has termed the CMS a "High Risk Program" every year since 1990 should be shocking and unacceptable. $48 billion in fraud and incompetence? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me 29 consecutive times, shame on me.
Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles school district siphoned off a cool $158 million in school lunch money to purchase lawn sprinklers and pay the salaries of employees at a local television station. Nice lawns and T.V.? It is L.A., after all! And the schools will get the lunch money back via the next levy referendum, anyway. Now, on to my favorite spending atrocities!
Uncle Sam spent $250,000 to teach Pakistani kids English...at Space Camp and Dollywood. I'm not sure why these locations were picked. Maybe Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center were booked up.
Half a million dollars went to the National Science Foundation to see if taking "selfies" makes one "happier." Funding this "study" doesn't make taxpayers "happier" — of that we can be sure. I will never think of "science" the same way again.
But that's not all. The selfsame National Science Foundation also received $450,000 to develop a "climate change video game." For what possible reason? Do players control a person running around shooting cows and breaking into people's houses to turn their air-conditioning off? This is precisely as pointless as believing we can control Earth's actual climate, though it might make Greta Thunberg slightly less angry.
According to the report, $29 million's worth of heavy equipment was "lost" in Afghanistan. How? It is not exactly a wet, impenetrable jungle. There are few lakes, and no tall, dense foliage — just sand and rubble as far as the eye can see.
The federal government also spent $356,000 to determine if and how cocaine contributes to risky sexual behavior...in quails...as well as $466,991 to study the mating calls of frogs. (I wish this were "fake news," but it is all too true.) I'm sorry, but I just can't consider these expenditures critical. What difference does it make how cocaine affects quail? The only time they will ever come in contact with it is when Uncle Sam acts as their candy man. Who decided to coke up the quails but not the frogs? Also, what were the (mad) "scientists" expecting to learn about frogs' mating calls? That males use timeworn lines such as, "Ribbit! Oh, yeah, baby! Squeak! You got it goin' on! Croak! Love those hind legs and your sexy webbed feet!"
The Fall Edition of Sen. Paul's Waste Report notes that the federal government spent $84,000 of the money it took from taxpayers to pay iconic musician Bob Dylan for a statue to be placed at the American embassy in...Mozambique; $500,000 for an unused toilet; and, incredibly, $22 million to bring Serbian cheese up to international standards. Because, honestly, is there a more pressing issue than mildly inadequate Serbian cheese?
The federal government of the United States spends a mind-boggling $4 trillion annually...and rising. There is no transparency, no visibility, no accountability, and no concern about those who foot this mother of all bills.
Once upon a time, there was the Boston Tea Party, a political protest and minor act of rebellion over a relatively inconsequential tax on the colonists' tea, one that occurred after England had repealed several of the other taxes the soon-to-be Americans found unjust.
Not all climate change is bad. Indeed, it is time for a change of climate in America right now. We need to stop imitating sheep and channel our inner colonist, our innate rebel, and tell those in the federal government to stop lighting their figurative Cuban cigars with the actual hundred-dollar bills they have taken from us. It is time to demand fiscal sanity.
After all, if not us, who? If not now, when?