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Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) on Wednesday released his annual "Festivus Report," this year reportedly uncovering a whopping $52 billion in wasted federal government dollars — which he said went toward things like a study on gambling that paid for pigeons to play slot machines and another study verifying that, yes, kids crave junk food.
Paul, a fiscal conservative who chairs the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight, has released his annual government waste reports for seven years. And each year, it seems the government comes up with more and more outrageous ways to spend taxpayer money.
"You’d almost think the government’s annual New Year Resolution is to spend more and more money," Paul said in this year's report before highlighting the worst abuses, which included $549 million on planes for the troops in Afghanistan that the Department of Defense later threw away and $25 million for New York City to display art projects around town.
Elsewhere in the report, Paul said that the U.S. Agency for International Development spent $11.3 million in part to request that Vietnamese citizens stop burning their trash. The federal government also reportedly donated $14 million to the Wilson Center — a Washington think tank known for putting on parties for members of Congress — while most other nonprofits received nothing.
Amazingly, even while the Biden administration stopped border wall construction at home, Paul said the federal government saw fit to give the Department of Defense $250 million to build border walls in the Middle East and North Africa.
The aforementioned pigeon slot machine study reportedly used just over $465,000 in taxpayer dollars provided to Reed College of Portland by the National Institutes of Health. The junk food study was put on by the University at Buffalo. It spent $361,000 awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and confirmed that kids not only crave junk food but are subject to weight gain when continuously exposed to it.
Another study funded in part by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) reportedly used approximately $1.3 million over five years to study how hearing good or bad news affects happiness.
Paul noted, however, that the bulk of the money — over $40 billion — was wasted on COVID-19 relief programs such as “improper CARES Act unemployment insurance payments" and “bad loans out of the Paycheck Protection Program."
“It seems like just yesterday the national debt was $20 trillion, but now the U.S. has managed to breeze past $28 trillion, spending and wasting more than we ever have,” Paul said in a statement to the Daily Wire. “While some in Washington insist on recklessly spending your taxpayer dollars, I will continue to shed light on some of the most egregious examples of government waste, and fight against excessive federal spending.”
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