In his annual Festivus Report on wasteful government spending, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) once again paid homage to the classic “Seinfeld” episode by airing his grievances about how much taxpayer money the U.S. is throwing down the drain. Coming in timely on the back of a $900 billion COVID stimulus package that Paul heartily opposed, the report reveals that $54 billion went out the window in 2020 – expenditures Paul says cost the average American taxpayer $10,000 of their own money.
“I got a lotta problems with federal spending,” Paul wrote, “and now you’re gonna hear about it!”
Included in Paul’s grievances was $25 billion that went to military expenses that ultimately went nowhere. For instance, the military lost nearly $200 million in drone equipment in Afghanistan alone. But even that is a drop in the bucket compared to the $23 billion the Pentagon spent on a mission to develop a better version of the M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle – a project that proved unsuccessful. This is the same U.S. government, mind you, that never could seem to come up with the money to build a wall across the southern U.S. border.
Paul also took aim at more than $16 billion in wasted “misc” expenses, which include $20 million for an airplane strip on Nantucket Island and another $10 million for an order of COVID test tubes that never wound up materializing.
“The Congressional Budget Office says the Fiscal Year 2020 deficit was an eye-watering $3.1 trillion, with a ‘T.’ Some of that is traceable to COVID-related spending, but a lot of it was not,” Paul wrote in the report. “For example, perhaps 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?
“Maybe, just maybe, cutting agencies blank checks is why the debt skyrocketed from $23 trillion to more than $27 trillion,” he continued. “Spending was about 50% higher than last year, and payments of interest on the public debt remained extremely high at $387 billion. If you laid out that many $1 bills end to end, it’d be enough to wrap around the earth 1,506 times. And that’s money the government spends that doesn’t help anybody—doesn’t even buy a pen or a paper clip”
Say what you will about Rand Paul, but while many in the Republican Party talk a good game about their fiscal conservatism, he is the real deal.