Senator Rand Paul has highlighted such boondoggle outlays as researching Russian cats and monkey gambling
From a Pentagon lobster tank to a transgender monkey study, the US government found a wide range of ways to waste taxpayer dollars in 2023, Senator Rand Paul has revealed in a report highlighting $900 billion of Washington’s reckless spending.
Paul released his annual “Festivus” report on Friday, saying Washington continued to fund “endless wars” and send money to foreign countries, even as the national debt ballooned this year from $30 trillion to nearly $34 trillion. “We borrow $200 million every hour, we borrow $3 million every minute, and we borrow $60,000 every second,” he said.
The report gave such examples as a $2.7 million grant that was used to study Russian cats that were forced to walk on a treadmill in a St. Petersburg lab after their brain stems were snipped. More than $477,000 was spent on a transgender monkey study in which the male victims were feminized with injections of female hormones. Another study that Paul found wasteful, funded through a $1.7 billion agricultural research program, found that the fur color of dogs didn’t affect their rectal temperatures after being walked on a hot day.
Part of a $12 million grant program was used to study the sleep habits of monkeys given methamphetamines in the morning, while $3.7 million went to gauge the propensity of monkeys to engage in gambling. In the latter experiment, researchers removed parts of the animals’ skulls and injected tracers to monitor their reactions as the monkeys gambled between low-risk and high-risk options shown on two screens. The government also paid $33.2 million to the contractor that fed and housed the nearly 4,000 monkeys kept on a government-owned island off South Carolina for future use in lab experiments.
Paul gave several examples of abuses in Covid-19 relief initiatives, including an $800 billion program in which small employers were paid to keep workers on their payrolls. Scammers claimed the money for fictitious employees, in some cases verifying their identities with pictures of Barbie doll faces. The government’s verification system failed to detect the fake mugshots.
An estimated $38 million in Covid-19 payments went to people whom the government knew to be dead, Paul said. A grant program that was supposed to help the owners of entertainment venues stay in business reportedly paid out more than $200 million to famous music artists and their touring companies. The payments included $8.9 million to rapper Lil Wayne, $10 million to Chris Brown and $8.6 million to rock band Smashing Pumpkins.
Overseas outlays included $6 million to help boost tourism in Egypt. The Pentagon spent more than $8,000 on a lobster tank, and it wasted a combined $170 million by improperly storing armored vehicle treads, hydraulic transmissions and turbine engines, Paul said.
The senator noted that the federal government spent $659 billion just to cover interest costs on its debt in its latest fiscal year. “We borrow from China to pay the interest on funds we couldn’t afford to spend in the first place,” he said.
Festivus, which was made famous on the American TV sitcom “Seinfeld,” is a secular December 23 holiday on which celebrants air their grievances and eat meatloaf.
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