Sen. Rand Paul Exposes $114 Million of Wasteful Government Spending in 2018
WASHINGTON D.C. – December 27, 2018
Every Christmas since he took office, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), has issued a "Waste Report" on government spending.
Dr. Paul’s Festivus Waste Report, now in its fourth year, shines a spotlight on some of the wasteful spending and misplaced priorities that have helped the federal government place taxpayers on the hook for a debt that is rapidly closing in on $22 trillion.
Festivus, for the uninitiated, is celebrated as a Christmas alternative. Created as part of the Seinfeld TV show by Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) as an answer to treacly holiday traditions, it features a Festivus pole without decorations, “feats of strength,” and a dinner, after which comes the annual “airing of grievances.”
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.
One of the things I hate most about Washington is that they have literally NO IDEA how to spend your money. That’s why I do waste reports, and do a FESTIVUS WASTE REPORT with some of the worst offenders of the year. Here are some of the worst in waste.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 23, 2018
Overall, Senator Paul contends, he's found an astonishing $114,514,631 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 million in waste is an asterisk in the budget. But as Paul points out, it costs more than $8,000 to the average taxpayer.
“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:
● Providing stipends to soldiers in the Somali National Army (State): $76,321,379
● Teaching Rwandan special interest groups and citizens how to lobby (State): $250,000
● Encouraging people in the Republic of the Congo to use local resources (State): $35,000
● Supporting Egyptian tourism (State): $18,000,000
● Supporting “legislative priorities” in Libya (State): $1,000,000
● Conceptualizing games in India (State): $50,000
● Paying for museum trips in Bosnia & Herzegovina for Bosnians & Herzegovinians (State): $50,000
● Developing a Pashto-language TV drama series for Afghanistan (State): $653,014
● Teaching female entrepreneurs in India how to “vlog” (State): $50,000
● Supporting asset seizure programs in Paraguay (State): $400,000
● Using theater to combat homelessness and poverty (National Endowment for the Arts): $15,000
● Funding a fictionalized opera about Prince Harry (National Endowment for the Arts): $15,000
● Making videos marketing U.S. colleges to Indian students (State): $75,000
● Putting on plays in Afghanistan (State): $200,000
● Studying horse and donkey hunting on the ancient Anatolian Peninsula (National Science Foundation): $361,891
● Paying to bring British student social activists to the U.S. (State): $200,000
● Studying daydreaming (National Institutes of Health): $2,488,153
● Blowing leaf blowers at lizards (National Science Foundation): $75,691
● Studying the sexual habits of quails on cocaine (National Institutes of Health): $874,503
Paul cites an October 2018 report from the Congressional Budget Office that showed net interest payments on the debt for fiscal year 2018 at $371 billion, or $62 billion more than the year prior. “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.’”
The point being, there are thousands upon thousands of these line items in the budget from every government department, every government agency, every government board, and every government panel - temporary, permanent, semi-permanent, ad-hoc, or otherwise.
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. As American Thinker noted, no congressman or senator has ever been defeated because he voted to spend too much in tax dollars.