Everyone in the Swamp is a comedian, it appears, especially when delivering the most absurd news about the inner workings of our bloated government. We hear the irony of late from the good Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). “Happy Festivus! Another year gone already,” as he penned in the opening line of his year-end report on government spending, resurrecting a classic episode of Seinfeld. In the spirit of giving this holiday, Paul has highlighted the most ridiculous gifts from our federal government to, well, weird and whacky causes.
A hefty $50,463,462,292.35 of wasteful spending is not helping the American bottom line or the average taxpayer, who contributed a hard-earned $8,215.48 for this 2019 financial folly.
Americans are nothing if not generous with our tax dollars. For instance, this year we gave to the Panamanian frog mating calls cause, sent low-quality textbooks to students in Afghanistan, and offered a grant to fund a Peruvian Green New Deal.
But wait, there’s more:
The State Department is paying tuition of international students enrolled in American community colleges.
We paid National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) $1.2 million to study the habits of online dating app users. Swipe left while eating a bag a of Cheeto’s and slurping a Mountain Dew in mom’s basement is not hard to figure out.
Heck, we spent $2 million to improve television programming in Moldova and another $20 million teaching Laotians the Lao language.
And that was just in the first three months of 2019.
Once the Summer Solstice rolled around, our government ramped up the cash flow from the American wallet. We increased the capacity for Pakistan to crank out more films, converted an abandoned mental hospital into Department of Health Services headquarters – although it would seem a better fit for Congress – and grandly messed up and paid out $48 billion in erroneous Medicare payments.
The fall of 2019 brought the wastefulness of our government full circle: Funded research that involves hooking Zebrafish on nicotine, spent multiple millions ensuring Serbian’s could bring their cheese up to international standards, and paid 1960s folk icon Bob Dylan $84,375 for a statue to be placed in the embassy in Mozambique. Groovy, man.
What if Rand Paul Held the Purse Strings?
The Festivus Report points out the most ludicrous of government decisions in spending American’s money. Ironically, this is the same elected people who began 2019 with a government shutdown and then refused to pass a 2019 budget. The Democrats, seemingly inspired by a new House majority refused to help secure the nation’s southern border leaving billions on the table. And then they threw the baby out with the bathwater undermining the Budget Control Act of 2011 which unraveled budget caps while suspending the debt ceiling for an additional two rotations around the sun.
What could the country have done differently than this cluster of bad financial decisions? That $50 billion in waste could have paved 100,000 miles of roadways for an ever-crumbling infrastructure. Or, pay our debt to American veterans by covering seven full months of health care coverage. Perhaps, instead of getting a poor fish addicted to nicotine, that money could be reinvested in the greatest nation on earth by refunding it to taxpayers. Just a thought.
But I’ll leave the last words to Andrew Moran, Liberty Nation’s economic correspondent: “These spending items may elicit a good chuckle every year, considering how ridiculous they are and how much debt the U.S. has. Unfortunately, every piece of spending is a tax, so eventually the American people will have to pay for this bureaucratic monstrosity in the form of higher taxes or inflation.”
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.