Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul released his annual “Festivus Report 2020” on wasteful government spending Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump threatened to torpedo the coronavirus relief bill.
Festivus is a secular holiday that involves expressing one’s complaints from the year and engaging in feats of strength. The idea for Festivus, or “Festival for the Rest of Us,” originated from television writer Daniel O’Keefe.
The celebration of Festivus has since grown wildly popular after its appearance in a “Seinfeld” episode Keefe collaborated on in 1997.
Paul nodded to the Festivus tradition of airing grievances in a tweet Wednesday morning.
“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re gonna hear about them! #Festivus,” the libertarian-leaning Republican said, quoting “Seinfeld” character Frank Costanza.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 23, 2020
Paul’s annual “Festivus Report” coincides with outrage over the 5,593-page COVID relief and federal spending bill, which passed both the House and Senate this week, though the “Festivus Report” didn’t even take into account the many questionable expenditures included in the relief legislation.
The Kentucky senator outlined in his grievance report the government’s shamefully wasteful spending, an amount he said totaled over $54 billion.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 22, 2020
Paul’s mere 139-page “Festivus Report” features several highlights of the most useless spending of 2020.
The senator reported that there was $1.5 million allocated for a National Science Foundation study involving lizards walking on a treadmill; $2 million to the National Institutes of Health to test the impact hot tubs have on lowering stress; $5 million to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which reportedly has a propensity for spending government funding on yacht subsidies; and $174 million toward finding lost drones in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, the full list is far longer and includes items that would be sure to make any deficit hawk’s head spin.
Although this report can largely be viewed as humorous, it certainly carries an important message.
When there seem to be so many significant issues plaguing America in 2020, from the coronavirus pandemic to hunger to homelessness, why is the government putting so much money toward meaningless studies and foreign aid?
Paul’s report is perfectly timed, as many Americans are furious about the coronavirus relief legalization approved by Congress earlier this week.
Trump released a video statement on his Twitter account on Tuesday, expressing his firm disapproval of the bill.
The president called for Congress to raise the stimulus amount to $2,000 per individual, as opposed to the current $600, as well as take out the many futile proposals tucked inside the legislation.
“It really is a disgrace,” Trump said in the video. “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
It remains to be seen whether Congress will attempt to revise the bill, however, there has been huge bipartisan support for doing so to provide more federal aid to Americans struggling during the pandemic. The real question is this: How much of the billions in random government pet projects would they re-disperse?
There is one thing we know — if the federal government ever does manage to cut back on spending, it would certainly be a Festivus miracle.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.