The Feds spent over $5 billion in 2019 on frivolous nonsense, maintaining self-cleaning toilets, improving Serbian cheese standards and more!

The Feds spent over $5 billion in 2019 on frivolous nonsense, maintaining self-cleaning toilets, improving Serbian cheese standards and more!

Rand Paul's "Festivus Report" shows how wasteful the Feds can be

PoliticsDecember 27, 2019 By Will Brendza

It’s no secret that our Federal government spends a shit load of money annually, and it’s not always on the most pertinent things. After all, this country is $23 trillion in debt.

How? One might wonder.

Obviously, it’s an expensive gig running a world power like the United States. We have to pay for fleets of fighter jets that run about $85 million a pop, air craft carriers that cost $12.998 billion a piece to build, our senators all make over $174,000 annually, there are millions of miles of roads and bridges and infrastructure that needs to be maintained, and much, much more in the way of national expenses.

But that’s not all our government finds time to spend our tax dollars on. Not by a long shot. According to Rand Paul’s annual “Festivus Report” the Feds dropped $50,463,462,292.35 on frivolous nonsense: programs and initiatives that didn’t do much to make this country a better or safer place.

For instance: The National Institute of Health’s $708,466.58 study to get Zebra fish hooked on nicotine, for science. Or how about that $84,375 statue of Bob Dylan we paid to erect at the U.S. embassy in Mozambique? (I love Dylan, don’t get me wrong, but that seems like a bit much.) Or what about the $100,000 that we put into propping up the Pakistani film industry? Don’t ask me why we did it (perhaps there were propaganda motivations there), but now Pakistan’s Palliwood is rising from the cultural ashes of what it never was.  

Yes, the Federal government clearly loves spending our money on this kind of moonshine. But, my two favorite items listed in Rand Paul’s report are:

1) A self-cleaning toilet, installed in the Huntington metro subway station (put there after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, because bathrooms apparently presented a security threat). This single toilet, cost our government $500,000 to maintain over its lifetime. A toilet which, between the years 2017 and 2019 was broken and out of order and then, one day, mysteriously vanished without a trace. Probably to a landfill.

And 2) A $22 million USAID initiative to raise the quality of Serbian cheese to meet international cheese standards. An initiative which took place amidst a 1.4 billion pound cheese surplus in the US. We’ve got more fucking cheese than we can eat, and we’re spending $22 million to make Serbia’s Zlater cheese taste better?

That is an impressive waste of money. Which, Rand didn’t hesitate to lambaste.

“So American dairy farmers dealing with the realities of this situation might be cheesed off to learn their government worked to strengthen competition and the European cheese market - using their own tax dollars to boot!” Paul complained in his report.

All told, these expenses and many more laid out in the report, amount to a whopping $50.5 billion. Enough money to pay for seven months of every military member’s healthcare. Enough money to double the current Federal spending on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Enough money to pay for one-hundred thousand miles of four lane paved roadways — enough to encircle the Earth four times. Enough money, even, to build Donald Trump’s ridiculous border wall (but don’t tell him that).

No matter whether you agree with Rand Paul’s political bent or not, his report is pretty astounding when you consider that all of that money came directly out of tax payer’s paychecks — our paychecks. In fact, in the report, Paul explains that figure represents the taxes of some 6.1 million Americans.

So, the next time you look at your paycheck and see a chunk missing for “Federal Taxes,” just remember all the wonderful things our government is likely going to spend that on: self-cleaning toilets that don’t ever get used, Serbian cheese, Pakistani films, and statues of Bob Dylan erected in foreign countries…

I mean what were you going to spend that money on, food? Gas? Rent? Christmas gifts for your loved ones? Please — as Paul’s Festivus report illustrates, that money is much better off in Federal coffers.