Today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) released his annual ‘Festivus’ report. This year’s report highlights over $110 million in government waste. According to Senator Paul, that means over 14,000 people’s tax dollars were wasted! With that money the government could have purchased 1,000 miles of roadway, 800 small business startups, and could have paid for 2 months of NASA aeronautics (which is pretty expensive I guess).
The featured entry, and most expensive, is the State Department providing stipends to the Somali National Army. According to the report, the State Department has spent over $75 million on Somali army stipends since 2009. “Somalia has been ruled by warlords and terrorists since the fall of its socialist dictatorship in 1991. Corruption in the Somali National Army (SNA) is so significant that, in 2017, the State Department suspended the majority of its food and fuel aid.” Despite that fact, the checks keep going out the door, subsidizing soldiers’ activities for a decade now.
During the decade the Somali army was getting paychecks from the State Department, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was paying for a study studying the sexual habits of quails high on cocaine. Originally highlighted in former Senator Tom Coburn’s 2011 Wastebook, the project kept receiving funding, totaling $875,000, despite the fact the project was clearly not a government priority. All in all, the study was “justified” by citing previous clinical studies showing “a correlation between cocaine use and risky sexual practices” in humans.
Perhaps the most hilarious entry of the entire report, this next waste is certainly to blow you away. “The National Science Foundation spent $75,691 to blow leaf blowers at lizards.” Yes, yes, you read that correctly. The $75,691 study was designed to “test the ability of anole lizards to withstand hurricanes in a broader look at natural selection.” But the catch here is, a team of researchers were studying the lizards during hurricanes Irma and Maria when they struck the Turks and Caicos islands in 2017. The researchers found the lizards having larger toe pads, longer forelimbs and shorter hind limbs survived better. Refusing to accept the finding, that’s when NSF researchers tested the lizards by aiming leaf blowers at them. Sounds like all this study achieved was successfully blowing taxpayer dollars.
The report features a total of 20 entries. Which are sure to provide you plenty of fodder just in time for the holidays. You can read the full report here!