Like clockwork, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) released his annual Festivus Waste Report outlining all the ways your tax dollars went down the drain in 2018, from funding studies on daydreaming to paying for people to blow leaf blowers at lizards.
“Happy Festivus! Is 2018 over already? It was just yesterday the national debt was pushing $20 trillion, and now it’s blown $21 trillion away!” the senator cracked a joke in the opening of his report. “What a year!”
Paul then aired his grievances with the federal government by highlighting $114,514,631 of “wasted money” in 2018:
- Providing stipends to soldiers in the Somali National Army (State): $76,321,379
- Promoting the already overcrowded farmers market industry (USDA): $13,400,000
- Teaching Rwandan special interest groups and citizens how to lobby (State): $250,000
- Using theater to combat homelessness and poverty (NEA): $15,000
- Studying the sexual habits of quails on cocaine (NIH): $874,503
- Funding a fictionalized opera about Prince Harry (NEA): $15,000
- Making videos marketing U.S. colleges to Indian students (State): $75,000
- Blowing leaf blowers at lizards (NSF): $75,691
- Supporting “legislative priorities” in Libya (State): $1,000,000
- Putting on plays in Afghanistan (State): $200,000
- Studying horse and donkey hunting on the ancient Anatolian Peninsula (NSF): $361,891
- Supporting Egyptian tourism (State): $18,000,000
- Paying to bring British student social activists to the U.S. (State): $200,000
- Encouraging people in the Republic of the Congo to use local resources (State): $35,000
- Studying daydreaming (NIH): $2,488,153
- Conceptualizing games in India (State): $50,000
- Paying for museum trips in Bosnia & Herzegovina for Bosnians & Herzegovinians (State): $50,000
- Developing a Pashto-language TV drama series for Afghanistan (State): $653,014
- Teaching female entrepreneurs in India how to “vlog” (State): $50,000
- Supporting asset seizure programs in Paraguay (State): $400,000
While Paul loves to call out waste, the fourth annual installment of his report included some new agenda items involving cruel and wasteful animal experiments, much to the pleasure of taxpayer watchdog White Coat Waste Project.
Anthony Bellotti, the group’s president, told IJR in a statement:
From blasting lizards with leaf blowers to hooking horny quails on cocaine, Senator Rand Paul’s Waste Report provides a crucial roadmap for identifying reckless federal programs that belong on the chopping block, including some of the $15 billion in tax dollars wasted on animal experiments each year. This annual catalog of boondoggles is one of the many reasons why we were proud to recognize Sen. Paul in 2017 with our Waste Warrior award.
In addition to the animal tests Paul outlined, Republican lawmakers have been stepping up to put an end to other animal experiments that several federal agencies conducted on the taxpayers’ dime.
— White Coat Waste Project (@WhiteCoatWaste) May 12, 2018