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Thank you Rand!
While I don’t always agree with everything he does, he is very strong on the fiscal matters.
Proving that yet again, he just published his annual report where he details wasteful government spending, and this year’s report came in at $50 billion!
Folks, what could we do with $50 billion?
Build 10 walls, fix all our roads and bridges, feed all homeless?
Yet we are spending it on studying frog mating calls in Panama, subsidizing the Pakistani film industry, and trying to promote green growth in Peru…..among hundreds of other asinine things!
Are you freaking kidding me?
The Washington Examiner had more:
The federal government is an excellent steward of taxpayer money — that is, if you think taxpayers ought to be paying for the study of frog mating calls, or film productions in Pakistan.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is a longtime critic of government waste, and he’s out with his latest edition of The Waste Report. An annual practice, the libertarian-leaning senator compiles the most outrageous examples of the federal government spending our tax dollars irresponsibly, and highlights them to illustrate a broader point. We should all thank Paul for his efforts: It’s long past time we call attention to government misspending and waste that’s become the norm in Washington, D.C.
The report found the State Department spent $100,000 subsidizing the Pakistani film industry — not exactly an issue dear to the average American’s heart. The federal government, too, spent nearly $500,000 studying frog mating calls in Panama, and $10 million to subsidize “green growth” in Peru.
Next time you cut a check to the IRS on tax day, remember that some of your money is going to obscure foreign projects that in no way advance American interests.
So, too, does the federal government continue to waste our money on nation-building abroad, according to Paul’s report. He identified $2 million wasted in democracy promotion in Tunisia. Paul rightly laments further investment in failed nation-building — let’s just hope lawmakers and taxpayers finally take notice.
The worst culprit of all, Paul found that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wasted $48 billion in fiscal year 2018 in improper payments. This is insane: One of the largest entitlement programs is pissing away billions in taxpayer dollars on waste and fraud.
All in all, Paul’s report found $50,190,108,562 in government waste — and frankly, he’s probably just scratching the surface. This is absolutely unacceptable in light of our growing national debt, which poses a serious threat to our fiscal future.
We’re set to run at least a $1 trillion dollar deficit in 2019, with the total national debt currently exceeding $22.5 trillion. These numbers are hard to contextualize in the abstract, but think of it this way: That’s roughly $180,000 in debt for each taxpayer.
We clearly can’t afford to be wasting $50 billion. As Eric Boehm put it for Reason, “No single spending item is going to solve America's $22 trillion national debt, but every little bit of wasteful spending makes the tough problems more difficult to solve.”
Read Sen. Rand Paul's official press release here.
And from Reason.com:
American taxpayer money helped boost political parties in Tunisia and subsidize films made in Pakistan—because "nation building" might have fallen off the front pages, but it remains part of the federal budget.
Both are highlighted in a report published last week by Sen. Rand Paul's (R–Ky.) office. The summer 2019 edition of Paul's ongoing "Waste Book" project includes more than $50 billion in wasteful government spending, including not only nation-building exercises in the Middle East, but also studies of frog mating calls, building "green" infrastructure in Peru, and improper payments made by federal entitlement programs.
In Tunisia, the State Department spent $2 million to "strengthen democratic institutions and processes," apparently as part of an effort to increase trust between the Tunisian people and their nascent democratic system. Paul's office points out that the State Department has spent more than $1.4 billion trying to shore up Tunisian democracy since the 2011 uprising that deposed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled as a dictator since 1987.
"What makes State believe $2 million more will succeed where 1.4 billion has failed?" Paul's report asks.
Indeed, American attempts at nation building in Tunisia have been less disastrous (and far less expensive) than elsewhere, but that hardly justifies well-intentioned but likely futile attempts to impose political stability from the outside. If anything, the American government's involvement in Tunisian domestic politics will only make locals less trusting of the political process.
Spending $100,000 to help underwrite film productions in Pakistan seems like an equally impotent way to sow the seeds of democracy. The grant is supposed to help facilitate the making of up to 50 short films by Pakistani filmmakers—the movies are supposed to have themes of "strength in diversity" and "women's empowerment" according to the grant application documents. As nice as that might be, it seems pretty far outside the American government's essential functions, particularly since the State Department also says the Pakistani film industry is already "growing dramatically."
Wasteful exercises in nation building are, sadly, not anything new. Last year, Reason's Brian Doherty reported on the shocking levels of waste found by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Among other things, American taxpayers paid $43 million for a natural gas filling station in a country where there are few natural gas-powered vehicles, $60 million for an uninhabitable hotel in Kabul, and $28 million for new camouflage military uniforms designed to mimic a forest environment—despite the fact that Afghanistan isn't really known for its forests.
No single spending item is going to solve America's $22 trillion national debt, but every little bit of wasteful spending makes the tough problems more difficult to solve. Paul's report includes more than $50 billion in waste, though the vast majority of that total ($48 billion of it) is due to improper payments made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). That's been a recurring problem for the federal agency responsible for the two major medical entitlement programs—the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has listed CMS as a "high-risk program" for wasteful spending every year since 1990.