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Sen. Paul Details $52B In Federal ‘Waste’ In Annual ‘Festivus Report’

flushing money away

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has unveiled his annual “Festivus Report,” which tracks what he sees as “waste” spending by the federal government. According to the libertarian-leaning Kentuckian, that waste topped over $52 billion in 2021.

Since arriving in the Senate amid the Tea Party wave of 2010, Paul had made the federal budget one of his foremost concerns.

Like his father, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the younger Paul has decried U.S. military adventurism, the excesses of the post-9/11 surveillance state, and the perpetually unbalanced budget of the federal government.

The Festivus Report has been a staple for Paul since 2015 when he released his first edition of the report.

In the 2021 report, Paul calculated that federal boondoggles added up to a total of $52,598,515,585—an amount Paul says could have been used to give everyone on Earth around $6.78, build 13,149 miles of a four-lane highway, operate Veterans’ Affairs facilities for 4.5 months, or to fund the Department of Energy for nearly two years.

From ground-up ferrets to border walls for Middle Eastern countries to a federally-funded dinosaur film, these are some of the most striking examples of bizarre spending revealed by Paul. …snip…

A Million Trees for NYC, Solar Panels for Africa, and Other Climate Initiatives

Still, these expenditures are relatively tame compared to others on Paul’s list. Paul also exposed how federal money has been used for several odd climate initiatives, both in the United States and abroad.

For example, the federal government offered a staggering sum of $400 million to plant one million trees in New York City between 2007 and 2017, which comes out to around $400 per tree.

Proponents said that the project would “make New York City more sustainable” and “protect our planet.”

MillionTreesNYC Director Morgan Monaco said that there was an additional goal: “to have New Yorkers form an emotional connection to trees.”

Some African nations also made off with a windfall in U.S. taxpayer funding. The Department of State, Paul says, devoted $179 million to funding green energy programs in Africa.

Paul argued that this investment will actually hurt African nations more than help them.

“Operating renewable energy sources like solar and hydroelectric remain more costly to [African] citizens,” Paul said. “So, by … providing $179 million for renewable energy, we’re actually going to be sticking Sub-Saharan African consumers with hefty electricity bills.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has also advanced some questionably costly climate programs. According to Paul’s findings, USAID has spent $11.3 million on “telling people [in Vietnam] not to burn their trash.”

Another $88 million USAID went to efforts to build irrigation systems in Afghanistan. Despite the nearly $100 million investment, these have gone mostly unused by Afghan farmers. …snip…

Paul’s Plan to Balance the Budget

In his report, Paul also detailed what could be done to balance the budget.

A few years ago, Paul introduced his “Penny Plan Balanced Budget.” According to Paul, the plan would have cut “only one penny off every dollar spent by the Federal government.”

But amid record spending by the Democratic Congress, that plan will no longer be enough to balance the budget, Paul said. Now, the federal government is spending so much money that it would need to cut five pennies off of each dollar it spends to balance the budget.

During early debates on democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) $3.5 trillion budget draft, Paul introduced an amendment to the bill that would have done just that. However, the amendment was defeated by a supermajority, with several Republicans joining with Democrats to strike down the proposal.

Still, Paul said he would keep doing what he could to fight the problem. “The speed in which our debt is growing means we need ever more vigorous solutions to solve this growing problem,” he wrote.

Read in full at The Epoch Times

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