Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently publicized a government waste report, exposing blatant spending by federal officials, including taxpayer funds outlaid for things that don’t benefit Americans whatsoever.
“[Y]ou don't have a vested interest in [spending $22 million for] bringing Serbian cheese up to global standards, or spending half a million on a self-cleaning toilet [its whereabouts is unknown] in a single D.C. Metro station,” The Western Journal impressed.
We spent that much on what???
The former Republican presidential candidate – with a libertarian leaning – prepared a basic primer to expose wasteful government spending, listing off some of the most flagrant abuses of taxpayer money.
“Last year, he noted your money got spent on studying the mating habits of quails when they were high on cocaine (so wish that were a joke, but I'm not that funny), promoting Egyptian tourism and sending foreign aid to China – a country which we're currently borrowing heavily from to pay this debt, as you might be aware of,” The Western Journal’s C. Douglas Golden recounted.
The most blatant abuses of taxpayer funds came from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as revealed in his fall 2019 report, which cited an Examiner article with the headline, “Let's face it: Washington, DC's Metro is the worst in the world."
And the wasteful spending – much of which occurred under former President Barack Obama’s watch – continues to this day.
“The agency is expected to suck up $153 million in taxpayer dollars for the 2020 fiscal year,” Golden noted.
But regardless of the millions being funneled into D.C.’s transportation system, it continues to have more and more problems, including ‘Metro’s routine service outages, delays, incomprehensible policy choices, and mismanagement of funds has led to – as WAMU reported earlier this year – the lowest ridership in almost 20 years,’" Golden noted from Paul’s report.
The Examiner contended that riders are paying more for less.
"The Washington subway system has been so bad that it derives a benefit from low expectations,” The Washington Examiner reported in June 2017. “Riders are let down so often that higher fares for worse service is what they have come to expect, [and] they've become world-famous. At the International Transport Forum this month in Germany, Washington's system was used as a cautionary tale."
Mismanagement and corrupt practices have been exposed by authorities on infrastructure.
"One transit expert said it is 'a h--- of a problem,' while another said it suffered from 'poor governance and poor attention to long-term investment,'” the Washington Post recounted, noting yet another expert called leaders at Metro “cowards” for failing to increase revenue by raising fares or taxes.
No excuse …
Paul highlighted a couple of the most blatant misuse of taxpayer funds in his report.
“In one, instead of fixing the problem, WMATA spent $400,000 on a PR offensive called ‘Back2Good,’ which did little to get the Metro system back to good but raised significant questions among media and ridership,” Russell noted.
Even the left-leaning, big-government-supporting daily in the nation’s capital pointed out the gross waste of public funds.
“[S]ome were surprised at Metro’s decision to spend six-figures on a PR campaign during a budget crisis, when the agency [was] considering raising fares and reducing service to offset a $290 million shortfall,” the Post revealed.
“’Wouldn’t that money be better spent on repairs and infrastructure?’ … they asked.”
Out of all the expenses, a toilet that cost more than most Americans’ houses appeared to be the most ludicrous expenditure.
“Well, maybe they could have offset it if they hadn't spent even more on maintaining a self-cleaning toilet they no longer know the location of,” Golden quipped. “In what the WMATA's inspector general called ‘Operation Golden Potty,’ the agency spent roughly half-a-million dollars from 2003 to 2017 maintaining a self-cleaning toilet at the Huntington Metro Station – although they can't really be sure of the exact cost because, as Paul's report noted, ‘Metro lost invoices for 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014 [during the Obama administration].”
Officials at the transit system attempted to justify the gross use of taxpayer funds for a commode.
“The Metro swears the toilet was necessary since – after the 9/11 attacks – the Huntington Metro Station's then-current bathrooms were apparently security concerns,” Golden informed. “At least the new self-cleaning bathroom made riders not want to use the loo at all, since ‘the toilet was not user-friendly, a documented experience shared by the news shows – though it did excel at providing some background music for users.’"
But no excuse could justify millions being spent on something no longer in use.
"To top it off, the half-million-dollar toilet sat broken and abandoned in the Huntington Station from 2017 to early 2019," Paul’s report explained. "Metro contracted with a private company to clean and maintain the self- cleaning toilet but canceled the contract in 2017, [and] while Metro had plans to move the toilet to a different station, it ended up decommissioning and removing the facility in early 2019. FSO staff inquired about the current whereabouts of the toilet, but Metro was unable to provide an answer."
Cheese anyone? How about unreadable books?
In addition, millions were wasted on cheese thousands of miles across the Atlantic … and unusable textbooks.
“[In Serbia,] USAID spent part of a $22 million 'Sustainable Local Development Project' training the staff at the Regional Center for Agricultural Development (RCAD) in Sjenica, Serbia, to follow the cheese standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and help producers adopt best practices,” the report divulged.
And even further to the east in an Islamic terrorist-ridden nation, tens of millions were wasted on schoolbooks that were unusable.
“Moreover, there's no doubt the children of Afghanistan need textbooks, and USAID spending $34 million on that might not seem so bad,” Golden added. “Unfortunately, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said that ‘[p]rincipals and teachers at a quarter of the schools inspected stated, ‘that the books were no longer in usable condition’ and that there were ‘book quality deficiencies, such as, loose or blank pages, misspellings and low quality paper.’”
Plans to distribute the books – despite tens of millions spent on them – were never even carried out.
“The inspector general found that ‘five storage facilities held about 154,000 textbooks’ and that ‘[m]anagers at four out of the five facilities stated that they had no plan to distribute the books in the near future,’” Golden explained. “Another $300,000 was spent on Model United Nations competitions in Afghanistan, because clearly, the students who haven't been distributed low-quality textbooks need to be taught how to be Model U.N. geeks, instead. The competitions are held in English, which only 6 percent of Afghans can speak.”