FIRST ON FOX – Sen. Rand Paul on Friday released his annual Airing of Grievances about federal spending and identified nearly half a trillion dollars-worth of wasted taxpayer resources – from the billions spent giving COVID relief funds to ineligible people to a $118,000 study on whether Marvel movie villain Thanos would really be able to snap his fingers while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.
Paul’s 2022 Festivus Report is inspired by the Festivus holiday from Seinfeld that features an airing of grievances, an appropriate model for deficit hawks like Paul who have watched the national debt explode by nearly $2 trillion in the last year. His 2022 report finds “a whopping $482,276,543,907” worth of federal waste.
“Who’s to blame? One need not look further than the $3.5 trillion that the big government politicians in Congress spent on the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which ultimately does nothing to truly combat rising inflation rates,” Paul said. “Worse, those same big spenders have just teamed up to pass a pork-laden $1.9 trillion omnibus spending package for 2023, released in the dead of night, and voted into law without anyone having read it.”
Paul’s report hits the big targets, like the $475 billion spend to pay interest on the national debt, and the $1.7 billion to maintain empty federal buildings. But it also keeps an eye on the smaller examples of abuses that take place when federal money is shoveled out the door so quickly.
More than $31.5 million worth of COVID funds went to buy luxury cars, and another $1.6 million was used to upgrade turf fields in Wisconsin when a school took advantage of rules that said a minimum of 20% of the funding had to be used to help students.
The report found that the Department of Defense spent nearly $200,000 on espresso machines from Starbucks. “At least Americans can rest assured that our military personnel will be perky and energetic even as they pour American taxpayer dollars – and perhaps a few overpriced coffee grounds – down the drain,” it said.
$168 million was given to the Vera Institute of Justice to help illegal immigrants avoid deportation, and this group has received more than $1.1 billion since 2008, the report found. “Providing hundreds of millions of your hard-earned dollars to help illegal immigrants actively skirt our immigration laws. What border crisis?” the report said.
Paul’s report also reveals that the federal government has a longstanding interest in injecting animals with things and seeing what happens. It spent $3 million in grants to watch steroid-injected hamsters fight in an attempt to assess whether certain drugs can soothe steroid-induced aggression.
It spent $2.3 million to inject beagle puppies with cocaine. And it spent $1.1 million to watch mice get drunk.
“One has to wonder: does the government really need that much money to get some mice tipsy?” the study said. “Just imagine how far $1.1 million would go at your local dive bar!”
But the government also has a softer, less violent side, although this side is just as wasteful. It spent $689,000 to study romance between parrots, the study said. $187,000 was spent to verify that the loving relationship between kids and their pets is beneficial.
And in a decision that demonstrates a caring for all creatures, the National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $118,000 to study whether the evil Thanos really could snap his fingers while wearing the Infinity Glove and make half of all life in the universe disappear. The finding: snapping your fingers in a metal glove probably wouldn’t work.
“Seems they discovered what they set out to learn, but at what cost?” the report asked. “To paraphrase Captain America, the NSF is not looking for forgiveness for wasting American taxpayers’ hard-earned money, and it’s way past asking for permission.”