This post is not political. Numbers speak louder than words. After months of petty debate, it is clear this COVID-19 relief package will fail the American people.
A whopping $54 billion is to be spent on trivial federal programs, corporate interest, fringe scientific studies and low-impact foreign aid contributions.
After a government-induced economic bust – called in the name of health & safety – the much-anticipated stimulus bill offers little to nothing for the average American family.
If we assume the average taxpayer pays around $10,000 in federal taxes…. 54 million Americans saw their precious tax dollars drift away into the ether of global governance.
President Trump is expected to veto the bill. He is suggesting a reduction in foreign aid and increase in direct payments to American households from $600 to $2,000 or $4,000.
We’ll have to wait and see how this develops. But as it stands today, these are the facts we are working with. And the facts aren’t pretty. Whatever happened to the green stimulus?
Note: even if Trump vetoes, Congress can still pass the bill with an additional vote.
Thanks to a lengthy report from Senator Rand Paul, here are a few examples of how Congress failed the COVID-19 relief package:
Top 10 COVID-19 Relief Package Blunders
Below are 10 major head-scratchers for the so-called ‘COVID-19 Relief Package’.
– Despite spending 15 years and billions of dollars, American counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan are ineffective (Foreign Aid)
– The Fish and Wildlife Service is subsidizing yachting (Environment, Energy, Science)
– NIH paid to find out if hot tubbing can lower stress (Health Care)
– Using CARES Act funds, the FAA renovated a taxiway at the airport on Nantucket Island most often used by private jets (Miscellaneous)
– NIH paid researchers to interview San Franciscans about how they use edible cannabis (Health Care)
– FEMA paid for test tubes for COVID tests but received contaminated mini soda bottles (Miscellaneous)
– NIH paid researchers to develop methods to stop grown adults from binge-watching television (Health Care)
– DOD lost more than 100 drones over Afghanistan (Military)
– USAID is open to creating a venture capital fund in Bosnia & Herzegovina for bad investments (Foreign Aid)
– NSF ran lizards on a treadmill (Environment, Energy, Science)
Senator Paul’s full remarks:
There’s a global pandemic? Let’s study e-cigarettes.
– Studied if you’ll eat ground-up bugs (NIH & NIFA): $1,327,781.72
– Asks why stress makes hair turn grey (NIH): $36,831,620.00
– Tries to get Eastern Mediterranean youth to stop smoking hookah (NIH): $1,471,617.00
– Used cancer research money to create a “smart toilet” (NIH): $6,973,057.00
– Tried to get adults to stop watching so much TV (NIH): $1,246,507.00
– Gives cigarettes to adolescent kids (NIH): $896,994.00
– Sent messages to moms to stop their teenage girls from indoor tanning (NIH): $3,452,234.00
– Funded an allegedly faked study linking e-cigarettes to heart attacks (NIH): $31,522,224.00
– Interviewed San Franciscans about their edible cannabis use (NIH): $3,125,768.00
Senator Rand Paul noted that Congress must have never met a SF stoner before. You don’t have to pay them to talk about how great weed is.
– Gave federal employees duplicative Medicare customer service access (RRB): $217,000,000.00
– Tested if hot tubbing can lower stress (NIH): $2,004,704.00
– Develops a master’s degree in research ethics in Myanmar (NIH): $968,932.00
– Helps justify the FDA’s Deeming Rule (NIH): $3,696,770.00
– Appropriated millions to the Urban Indian Health Programs (Congress): $57,684,000.00
– Tries to help people get over their fears of going to the dentist (NIH): $1,039,554.00
– Studied the prevalence of party drug use at NYC clubs and raves (NIH): $1,454,217.00
– Waited for years on delinquent undelivered orders (VA): $3,496,302,352.00
– Studied the effect of sleepiness on diet, physical activity, and obesity in kids (NIH): $787,355.00
America trying to help the world like…
– Spent billions in Afghanistan on counternarcotics efforts: $8,620,000,000.00
– Funds classes for Kenyan artists and performers (State): $150,000.00
– Planned Olympic-themed events in Singapore: $75,000.00
– Supports Sri Lankan think tanks: $800,000.00
– Spends millions to help deal with truant Filipino youth (USAID): $37,500,000.00
– Teaches English to rural unemployed Romanians (State): $25,000.00
– Put on theatrical plays in Mumbai (State): $30,000.00
– Spends 5 years monitoring elections in Zimbabwe (USAID): $10,000,000.00
– Seeks to start a venture capital fund for bad investments (USAID): $2,000,000.00
– Helps disconnected Tunisian youth not feel like a problem (USAID): $48,000,000.00
– Sends Russians to American community colleges for a “gap year” (State): $3,250,000.00
– Sets up book clubs for Pakistani and Afghan kids (State): $200,000.00
– Subsidizes Tunisian Chambers of Commerce (State): $700,000.00
Environment, Energy, Science
Instead of figuring out how to safely allow restaurants to operate at full-capacity, let’s buy some buses.
– Walked lizards on a treadmill (NSF): $1,557,083.00
– Funds the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (FWS): $13,545,889.40
– Bought public transit buses for localities (FTA): $129,956,625.00
– Studied how people cooperate while playing e-sport video games (NSF): $199,864.00
– Hired “interns” to do busy work (NPS): $57,576.75
– Studied how New Yorkers abided by New York City COVID lockdowns (NSF): $199,995.00
– Taught students in Washington about disputed climate science (NSF): $487,528.00
– Subsidizes an insect ranching company’s R&D efforts (NSF): $1,304,454.00
– Develops a wearable headset to track eating behavior (NSF): $2,075,074.00
– Studies how food options change when a neighborhood is revitalized (NSF): $260,000.00
I know Americans are hungry, just bring the money spent on our mistakes this way sir.
– Spent decades trying unsuccessfully to replace the Bradley (DOD): $23,900,000,000.00
– Bungled building a drone base in Niger (USAFRICOM and USAF): $110,000,000.00
– Built unsafe infrastructure in Afghanistan (Army Corps of Engineers): $4,500,000.00
– Repurposed COVID response funds for unrelated acquisitions (DOD): $1,000,000,000.00
– Lost equipment designated for Syrians fighting ISIS (DOD): $715,800,000.00
– Spent millions on STARBASE (DOD): $35,000,000.00
– Lost drones over Afghanistan (DOD): $174,000,000.00
– Built a police complex lacking power that is not used (Army Corps of Engineers): $3,100,000.00
I know your Governor forced you out of business, don’t worry. Just pay us 30% of your income. Yes, of course that money benefits you. We sprayed urine on rats!
– Rebuilt a taxiway for airplanes on Nantucket Island (FAA): $19,999,869.00
– Bought COVID test tubes but received unusable soda bottles (FEMA): $10,502,997.50
– Bought vehicles for State and local law enforcement agencies (USMS): $53,900,000.00
– Built 3 bicycle storage facilities at D.C. Metro stations (Metro): $5,966,180.00
– Prepared bugs for you to eat (NSF and DARPA): $2,819,702.02
– Sprayed alcoholic rats with bobcat urine (NIH and VA): $4,575,431.00
– Allowed States to take advantage of TANF rules (Congress): $16,500,000,000.00
– Overspent on pre-fab housing and water pumps in Texas (FEMA): $182,000,000.00
You can read the full 138-page waste report here.
This COVID-19 Relief Package had potential
Let’s put $54,746,524,505.37 into perspective. That money could have:
– Paved 456,221 miles of two-line roadway, enough to wrap the entire Earth eighteen times.
– Funded three years of the entire Treasury department.
– Funded six months of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Never forget this moment
Something is broken.
This was the perfect time for Congress to step up and make up for a year (and arguably decades) that broke our faith in the American system. Millions of families obeyed state laws that didn’t directly benefit their family.
Complying with state lockdowns cost folks their job, reputation (if they had to fire people), life savings, safety of themselves and others (front-line workers).
These families sacrificed their lives and livelihoods. They performed the unnatural and acted without self-interest. They did it with the promise of a healthier, happier America.
This second COVID-19 Relief Package was DC’s turn to make it up to the selfless Americans who gave up everything.
And they failed us once again.