Politicians in charge of the public purse engage in lots of waste, ranging from just a few thousand dollars to billions of dollars. The citizenry has accepted this frivolous spending because there is nothing they can do since both political parties are guilty of this fiscally reckless behavior. Only one senator from Kentucky has had enough of the waste and disrespect of tax dollars, spending the holiday season to air his grievances.
The Festivus Report: A Primer
Since 2014, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has released the Festivus Report, an annual assessment of how the federal government spends tax dollars. The report is broken down every year into six categories: energy, environment, foreign aid, health care, military, and miscellaneous. It also lists some noteworthy findings to show just how egregious some of the spending can be in Washington. While it can be hilarious to see the stuff the government squanders money on, it is also insulting to the millions of taxpayers struggling to get by.
Festivus – The 2020 Edition
“I got a lotta problems with federal spending, and now you’re gonna hear about it!” writes Senator Paul in his latest installment of the Festivus Report.
The Kentucky Republican unveiled $54 billion in tax dollars that were “totally wasted” in 2020. What were some of the examples of government waste over the last 12 months? Here is a brief list of the dozens of different examples:
- $1.5 million to examine lizards walking on treadmills.
- $37.5 million to help the Philippines solve its problem with truant youths.
- $4.5 million to spray drunk rats with bobcat pee.
- $36 million to turn mice’s hair gray.
- $2 million to find out if a hot tub can reduce stress.
- $700,000 to subsidize the Tunisian Chambers of Commerce.
- $2.8 million to prepare bugs for you to eat.
A History of Waste
Unfortunately for U.S. taxpayers, 2020 was not the only year of eyebrow-raising expenditures. This type of notable waste has been going on for decades. Senator Paul has highlighted the billions of dollars that have been abused and misused in the nation’s capital for the last six years.
Here are some examples from over the last six years:
- 2019: $2 million to improve television programming in Moldova.
- 2018: $650,000 to produce a television drama series to air in Afghanistan.
- 2017: $1.5 million to study how to make tomatoes taste better.
- 2016: $6 million for the Fort Belvoir Eagle’s Nest Dining Facility, which later shut down permanently.
- 2015: $450,000 to create a climate change video game.
- 2014: $853,000 to develop a curriculum of winemaking studies at Washington community colleges.
Spending Your Own Money
Economist Milton Friedman came up with four different ways to spend money. You can spend money on yourself. You can spend your own money on someone else. You can spend somebody else’s money on yourself. You can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. The government has adopted the fourth approach of Friedman’s concept, becoming the distributor of welfare funds. Since there is no accountability or skin in the game for these public officials, they are free to splurge on your dime, resulting in today’s $3 trillion federal deficit and $28 trillion national debt.