Rand Paul’s annual Festivus Report on wasteful government spending strikes angry Americans

Sen. Rand Paul is keeping his annual tradition alive this year with the release of his “Festivus Report 2021,” a compilation of what he sees as wasteful government spending as well as recommendations for where the money could be better utilized.

The report’s title comes from a well-known 1997 “Seinfeld” episode called “The Strike” in which the fictional holiday takes place on Dec. 23, the day before Christmas Eve. Instead of celebrating with family members and enjoying the Christian-themed holiday, Festivus participants air grievances about “all the ways they have disappointed you the past year.”

The fake holiday is symbolized with an “unadorned aluminum pole.”

According to a statement from the Kentucky Republican’s office, his researchers found $52,598,515,585 in what they determined to be wasteful spending on “a study of pigeons gambling on slot machines, giving kids junk food, and telling citizens of Vietnam not to burn their trash,” among other things.

The report resembles a menu that contains bullet points next to costs. One refers to $549 million spent to supply the Afghanistan Air Force with planes that were later sold as scrap, $2.4 billion to build structures in that country that largely went unused, and the pigeon slot machine study that cost taxpayers $465,339, Fox News reported.

“What a year it’s been. It seems like just yesterday when the national debt was $20 trillion, but now the U.S. has managed to breeze past $28 trillion! And, it’s safe to say that some big changes have occurred since last year’s Festivus Report,” says an opening statement.

“Mask mandates, travel restrictions and lock-downs were lifted across many parts of the country. President Biden was inaugurated. Inflation has skyrocketed. The Kardashians finally ended their TV show after 14 years. ‘Dad bod’ was officially added to Webster’s Dictionary. And how about the Federal government? Well, unsurprisingly, it managed to keep spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need,” the statement noted further.

Of the $52 billion wasted, Paul’s report notes that money could have gone towards:

— Giving every person in the world $6.78

— 13,149 miles of four-lane highway construction, or enough to criss-cross the U.S. more than five times

— 4.5 months of operating the Veterans Administration

— 1 year, 8 months’ worth of funding for the Energy Dept.

“You’d almost think the government’s annual New Year Resolution is to spend more and more money. Well, it is! Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects more than $1.2 trillion in deficits for Fiscal Year 2022,” the opening statement noted.

“In fact, CBO states Congress spent $6.8 trillion in Fiscal Year 2021, $266 billion more than FY2020. Why continue to recklessly spend taxpayers’ money when debt held by the public is already at 103% of GDP?” it continued.

Paul’s statement closed this way: “No matter how much money’s already been wasted, politicians keep demanding even more. But don’t worry, I will continue to fight against government waste. So, before we get to the Feats of Strength, it’s time for my Airing of (spending) Grievances!”

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Jon Dougherty

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