Festivus is upon us. Popularized by Seinfeld, it’s the time of year to air grievances—and Sen. Rand Paul has plenty of them from 2020.
The Kentucky Republican’s “Festivus Report” details $54 billion in government waste, which is particularly egregious during a year where Americans have lost so much as a result of coronavirus lockdowns.
What started as a 15-day period to slow the spread of COVID-19 turned into the better part of a year and “while that was happening, Congress spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care,” the report states.
The deficit for Fiscal Year 2020 was a staggering $3.1 trillion—yes, some of it was COVID relief, the report notes, “but a lot of it was not.”
“[P]erhaps somebody can explain to me why the Kennedy Center needed $25 million for salaries? Or why Congress reimbursed some agencies for money they had spent in late 2019 and early 2020, before COVID hit, on efforts unrelated to COVID?” Paul wondered. “Maybe, just maybe, cutting agencies blank checks is why the debt skyrocketed from $23 trillion to more than $27 trillion. Spending was about 50% higher than last year, and payments of interest on the public debt remained extremely high at $387 billion.”
He then gave a powerful visual: “If you laid out that many $1 bills end to end, it’d be enough to wrap around the earth 1,506 times.”
The worst part about it is that none of that government spending actually helps anyone.
“It is more important than ever for Congress to find its fiscal backbone,” he urged. “Our debt puts at risk the long-term solvency of major programs such as Social Security. And why? To pay for test tubes for COVID tests that turn out to be soda bottles? To see if hot tubbing a few times a week eases stress? Or is the risk worth it so we can literally lose drones over Afghanistan?!?”
These are just some of the grievances you’ll find in this year’s report “highlighting $54,746,524,505.37 of totally wasted money.”
Paul points out that of this staggering sum, the average taxpayer is responsible for $10,006.55, which means the government wasted 5,471,368 people’s taxes.
You couldn’t even stay alive long enough to count to $54,746,524,505.37 if that’s literally all you did, he adds. If it were possible, you’d finish in the year 3756.
Some of the highlights from the report were posted on Twitter.
Some highlights:— Nick Short ???? (@PoliticalShort) December 23, 2020
- The Department of Defense potentially lost up to $715 million in equipment designated for Syrians fighting
- The Department of Defense spent $174 million supplying drones to the Afghan National Army and then subsequently lost them
- Researchers used funds from NIH grants totaling $31 million on a study they allegedly faked to make it look like there was a connection between e-cigarettes and heart attacks— Nick Short ???? (@PoliticalShort) December 23, 2020
- U.S. Agency for International Development is spending
$37M to help deal with truant Filipino youth
The craziest example of government of waste? Researchers spent funds from National Science Foundation grants worth $1.5 million to walk lizards on a treadmill! pic.twitter.com/FRyCXE5nJt— Nick Short ???? (@PoliticalShort) December 23, 2020
Congratulations, @wmata, for making @RandPaul's 2020 Festivus report for wasting $5,966,180.00 on 3 bike racks. He omitted just how long it took y'all to complete them. #Unaccountable @unsuckdcmetro pic.twitter.com/nYcwBQDjci— Goalie Medic ???? (@GoalieMedic37) December 23, 2020
My favorite wasteful spends of 2020:— ? (@Mike44030212) December 23, 2020
- Study: Will people eat ground-up bugs? $ 1,327,781
- Why does stress makes hair turn grey? $36,831,620
- Wearable headset to track eating behavior $ 2,075,074
- Spraying of alcoholic rats with bobcat urine $4,575,431 https://t.co/O2LUgDzdqP