What do Panamanian frogs, an abandoned Civil War-era mental hospital, and the Pakistani film industry have in common? Your tax dollars were spent to support each of them.
These are just some of the findings in Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Summer of 2019 Edition of “The Waste Report.” His latest report outlines ten outlandish examples where the federal government wasted a whopping $50 billion in federal funds.
Let’s take a look at how our tax dollars have been misused.
There’s an abandoned Civil War-era mental hospital in the Washington DC area that was tapped by the Department of Homeland Security in 2005 to be the site of its new headquarters. Turning this historic site into a modern federal agency headquarters has come with considerable challenges. Thirty percent of the site sits on an unstable slope, portions of the complex are sinking into the ground, and historic preservation and environmental regulations are causing major obstacles to the renovation efforts. It fact, after nearly a decade into the project, they are contemplating knocking down five building and starting over. That’s just one reason why the complicated and slow developing project has already cost $2.1 billion and is not expected to be complete until 2026.
Senator Paul’s report also included a $100,000 grant from the State Department to help expand the Pakistani film industry. More specifically to “[d]evelop a short film competition with a minimum of fifty (50) aspiring filmmakers and film or media students…” Just last week, Congressional leaders rejected a proposal to rescind foreign aid money, citing that any cuts would undermine our national security. We’ll let the reader decide whether a more robust Pakistani film industry is integral to American national security.
The Summer 2019 Waste Report also details how a large portion of a $463,000 went to study the mating calls of the Panamanian frog. The researchers examined how the mating call patterns change between frogs near the city and in the forest – surely a priority when 52 of 58 public housing units in New York have at least one housing quality violation.
Another research project highlighted was as easy as a Google search, but way more expensive. $51.7 million in federal grants were used for researchers to travel to Hawaii, where according to Paul’s report, they compiled “already existing literature the researchers found on Google Scholar between February and March 2017.”
By far the largest example of wasteful spending is the $48 billion in improper payments in the Medicare system. These payments include an international scheme to defraud the federal government out of $1.2 billion by charging Medicare orthopedic braces doctors prescribed “either without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephonic conversation with patients they had never met or seen.”
If you want to read more about these examples, along with fraud in New York, confiscation in Afghanistan, and politicking in Tunisia, go check out the Summer 2019 Waste Report now.
With all this waste, the American people need a better explanation for why Congress felt it necessary to boost spending by a massive $320 billion over the next two years.
Oversight is difficult, but it is critical in ensuring that our tax dollars are directed towards our priorities rather than frittered away on waste and fraud. This is true of any period. It it is imperative at a time when our annual deficits are hitting $1 trillion piling onto our unsustainable $22 trillion national debt.