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Mike’s Musings: Taxpayer money wasted on silly projects

I agree with Sen. Rand Paul on some initiatives and disagree on others, but one item we are lock step with is federal spending. I believe our money (the taxpayers fund the federal government) is used for all sorts of pork barrel projects that keep elected officials and their donors happy, but don’t do anything but empty the average taxpayers’ wallet.

Sen Paul would agree and each year around this time he issues his Festivus Report, that outlines some of the more ridiculous items our federal government funds. He claims the feds spent a whopping $550 billion in unnecessary expenditures that simply make my case that our elected officials “really don’t give a damn” when it comes to spending our money.

Here are a few of the more nefarious expenditures:
Over $4.5 billion was handed out for improper COVID Economic Injury disaster loans. This money was doled out like candy in the CARES and PPP programs. The Small Business Administration estimates that nearly 39 percent of all PPP loans were obtained fraudulently or used for purposes other than what was instructed. Overall Sen. Paul says Congress spend over $4.55 trillion dollars to combat COVID with little or no oversight. Talk about a boondoggle- $4.55 trillion is an unfathomable number.
The feds spent over $28 million on camouflage uniforms for the Afghanistan desert. After spending the money the Department of Defense determined that the uniforms were inappropriate for the hot desert, thus were never used. Sen. Paul remarked after two decades of fighting in the Afghan terrain it seems like the DOD should know what kind of clothing was needed. Amen.
Congress spent $475 billion just on interest payments last year. That’s money that doesn’t purchase anything. It improves nothing. And guess what, after Congress just approved another $1.8 in spending just before Christmas, those interest payments will be larger in 2023.
We spent $168 million to help illegal immigrants avoid deportation. Not only are we letting people enter our country by the thousands illegally at our southern borders, we now provide them with legal representation if American law enforcement tries to deport them.
We gifted $50 million to Tunisia to increase that African nations tourism. Tunisia is already one of the continents biggest tourism destinations. Why we feel the need to give them a $50 billion boost is beyond me.
One of the most wasteful agencies is the National Institute of Health (NIH). In 2022 they awarded $3 million to Northeastern University to watch steroid injected hamsters fight. I don’t know of the outcome, but really, if this study is real, where is the cost? Couldn’t it have been completed for $30,000.
The NIH loves using animals for experiments. In 2022 they also spent $2.3 million to inject beagles with cocaine.
The same agency, NIH, spent $2.1 million of our money to encourage Ethiopians to wear shoes.
Health and Human Services (HHS) doled out $700,000 to Cornell University so researchers could study romance between parrots.
Back to the feds obsession with illegal immigrants. Our feds, at their fiscal best, signed a contract with six Texas hotels for a whopping $87 million to house illegal immigrants. The contract language provided the hotels with upfront payments for all their hotel rooms whether they were used or not. Throughout the year only 21 o 45 percent of the rooms were used. The hotels made out like bandits, and we the taxpayers? Shafted again.
The older I get the more I realize, those charged with handling our money really don’t care, after all it’s not their hard-earned dollars. Spend spend spend and everyone’s happy in Washington DC. Unfortunately in the hinterlands, it only makes life tougher for most of us.

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