It’s that time of year again – no, not Christmas.
It’s Festivus season.
And Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is celebrating with his “airing of the grievances” about how much taxpayer money Washington wastes.
“How can 2021 already be coming to a close? What a year it’s been. It seems like just yesterday when the national debt was $20 trillion, but now the U.S. has managed to breeze past $28 trillion! And, it’s safe to say that some big changes have occurred since last year’s Festivus Report,” Paul said in the preamble to his 2021 Festivus Report, issued Wednesday.
“Mask mandates, travel restrictions, and lock-downs were lifted across many parts of the country. President [Joe] Biden was inaugurated. Inflation has skyrocketed. The Kardashians finally ended their TV show after 14 years. ‘Dad bod’ was officially added to Webster’s Dictionary. And how about the Federal government? Well, unsurprisingly, it managed to keep spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need.”
Paul estimates the federal government in the fiscal year 2021 wasted a mere $52.6 billion. Based on what the average American pays in taxes, the federal government wasted the tax payments of more than 3.4 million people, Paul contends.
Paul pointed out that the wasted amount could have paid for more than 13,000 miles of a new four-lane highway, operated the Energy Department for nearly two years, or provided everyone on Earth about $7.
So what did we get instead for that amount? Well, according to Sen. Paul, we paid to:
- Incentivize Californians to uninstall fireplaces
- Translate books into the Georgian language
- Develop a film about dinosaurs to inspire middle schoolers
- Research pigeons playing slot machines
- Tell people in Vietnam to not burn their trash
- Plant trees in New York City
- Fatten eels for human consumption
Some of the insanity warranted special attention. Paul noted that our government spent $250 million to build walls in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman, but did nothing to protect America’s own border. “While Americans may be divided on how to solve the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Paul said, “We should all agree that using our taxpayer money to fix someone else’s border is not the best idea.”
Taxpayers provided $25 million to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio could launch his “City Arts Corps,” which paid 3,000 artists “to publicly display creative works in an effort to ‘resurge the cultural scene’ in the Big Apple.
We gave South Korea a $150,000 grant in order “to send ten Koreans aged 15-30 to Washington, D.C. for two weeks to learn about climate change activism.”
Washington spent $1.3 million “to study how hearing good or bad news affects your happiness.”
The biggest single item on Paul’s list is $36 billion the government shelled out in potentially bogus unemployment claims under the CARES Act.
As one example, the senator pointed to an Akron, Ohio, restaurant that employed 44 people before the pandemic, but which has filed more than 100 notifications of bogus unemployment claims.
“You’d almost think the government’s annual New Year Resolution is to spend more and more money. Well, it is!” Paul said in the report, noting that the Congressional Budget Office projects deficits this year will top $1.2 trillion, just a year after the government firehosed $6.8 trillion out the door last year.
“Why continue to recklessly spend taxpayers’ money when debt held by the public is already at 103% of GDP?” Paul asked.
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