Festivus in Spring

Right before Christmas, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) issued his Festivus Report for 2022. Unfortunately, because the Senator also tweeted his own reworked version of Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas at that time, I missed his annual Festivus Airing of Grievances over some of the federal government’s most wasteful spending.

But, like Christmas, people can feel the spirit of Festivus all year round. Who says we cannot belatedly celebrate Festivus on the cusp of spring? Nobody, that’s who! And whoever could complain can add my doing so now to their list of grievances to be aired when they celebrate Festivus. Let’s go!

Paul’s 2022 Festivus grievances contain 31 line items of wasteful spending. Five of them involve COVID spending that cost Americans over $4.7 billion. Wait until you see where that money went: 

  • Giving ineligible citizens COVID Economic Injury Disaster Grants ($4.5 billion)
  • Using COVID relief funds to construct an 11,000-square-foot spa and fitness center in Florida ($140 million)
  • Using COVID relief funds to purchase luxury cars for four people ($31.5 million)
  • Giving a Wisconsin school district COVID relief funds to upgrade its athletic fields ($1.6 million)
  • Boosting Tunisia’s $1 billion tourist industry during COVID-19 ($50 million)

More Waste!

Other wasteful spending examples often have smaller price tags. Still, they are so ridiculous you might think they cannot be real. But they are, and they are spectacularly wasteful! Here’s a small selection of those kinds of items:

  • The General Services Administration (GSA) funding to maintain 77,000 empty federal government buildings ($1.7 billion)
  • An ongoing 26-year-old National Insitute of Health (NIH) study involving watching hamsters fight while on steroids ($3 million)
  • The Department of the Navy’s purchase of “top-of-the-line” Starbucks espresso machines from 2018 through 2021 ($192,952)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funded a study of romance between parrots ($689,222)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) research into whether Thanos could snap his fingers while wearing the infinity gauntlet ($118,971)

You’ll be pleased to learn the research team who received the NSF grant found that Thanos would not be able to successfully snap his fingers while wearing metal gloves if the Marvel comic villain existed in real life. Americans can now sleep at night and not worry about that anymore!

Altogether, Paul’s Festivus Report for 2022 contains over $482 billion in examples of wasteful federal government spending. The biggest single item on that list is $475 billion for interest payments on the U.S. national debt, which has become the fastest-growing category of government spending because of rising interest rates caused by President Biden’s excessive spending.

Craig Eyermann is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.
Beacon Posts by Craig Eyermann | Full Biography and Publications
  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org