On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) released his 2021 “Festivus” Report, which detailed a total of $52,598,515,585 in government waste.
Paul is chairman of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight (ETSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and is on the Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).
This marks Dr. Paul’s and the subcommittee’s seventh edition of the Festivus Report, which the Senator described as a way to “alert the American people to how their federal government uses their hard-earned money.”
Areas of spending are broken down into various sections, including COVID-related spending, Afghanistan, and miscellaneous expenditure. Examples include $11.3 million spent by the USAID on telling the people of Vietnam “to stop burning their trash,” Congress giving the Wilson Center — which “throws swanky parties for members of congress” — $14 million, and over $465,000 granted by the NIH to Reed College of Portland, Oregon, to “create a token-based economy where pigeons are taught to gamble with slot machines.”
“Happy Festivus! How can 2021 already be coming to a close? What a year it’s been,” the report begins. “And, it’s safe to say that some big changes have occurred since last year’s Festivus Report. Mask mandates, travel restrictions and lock-downs were lifted across many parts of the country. President 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.”
“It seems like just yesterday the national debt was $20 trillion, but now the U.S. has managed to breeze past $28 trillion, spending and wasting more than we ever have,” Sen. Paul told The Daily Wire. “While some in Washington insist on recklessly spending your taxpayer dollars, I will continue to shed light on some of the most egregious examples of government waste, and fight against excessive federal spending.”
Based on the reported government waste of $52,598,515,585, Sen. Paul pointed out that, with an average taxpayer bill of $15,332, the federal government “wasted the taxes of 3,430,636 people.”
“That is roughly the population of Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; or 50.74 times the size of Senator Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green, KY,” the report noted.
The report stated that $40,316,270,000 (and counting) was wasted on COVID-19, including $4.29 billion in “bad loans out of the Paycheck Protection Program,” as much as $36 billion in “wasted unemployment insurance payments,” and $1.27 million in “COVID relief funds for students who actually weren’t enrolled” in one Baltimore school.
Miscellaneous wastage amounting to more than $8 billion included $250 million to “build border walls in the Middle East and North Africa,” $179 million for the State Department to “fund green energy programs in Africa,” and $200,000 to teach “France about U.S. culture.”