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13December 2020

National Review

Rand Paul Outlines $54 Billion in ‘Outlandish’ Government Waste in Annual Festivus Report

Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday released his annual report outlining of billions of dollars in “truly outlandish” government waste.This year’s “Festivus” waste report, a reference to the fictitious Seinfeld holiday’s “airing of grievances,” documented nearly $54,746,525,000 in money “totally wasted” by the government.”Remember this the next time they tell you there’s ‘nothing to cut,'” the Kentucky Republican wrote Wednesday in a Twitter thread highlighting parts of the report.Among Paul’s instances of waste were several health studies, including more than $36 million spent on studying why stress makes hair turn gray, more than $1 million spent studying whether people will eat ground-up bugs, and more than $3 million spent interviewing San Franciscans about their edible cannabis use.As far as taxpayer dollars spent aiding other countries, $8.62 billion was spent in Afghanistan on counternarcotics efforts, more than $37 million was spent helping deal with truant Filipino youth, and more than $3 million was spent on sending Russians to American community colleges for a “gap year.”Among funds spent on the environment, energy, and scientific research, more than $1 million was spent walking lizards on a treadmill, nearly $200,000 was spent studying how people cooperate while playing e-sport video games, and more than $2 million on developing a wearable headset to track eating behaviors.The military had several particularly high expenditures this year that Paul listed as waste, including repurposing $1 billion in coronavirus response funds for unrelated acquisitions, more than $ 715 million in lost equipment designated for Syrians fighting ISIS, and $174 million on drones that were lost over Afghanistan.Other eyebrow-raising expenses included more than $4 million spent on spraying alcoholic rats with bobcat urine, more than $10 million spent on would-be coronavirus test tubes that turned up as used soda bottles, and nearly $6 million spent building three bicycle storage facilities at Washington, D.C. Metro stations.In 2020, “Congress spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care,” the report reads. “Some of that is traceable to COVID-related spending, but a lot of it was not.”


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