by Charlie Kirk
Democrats want you to think they’ve finally discovered a sense of fiscal responsibility in response to President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to fund construction of the border wall. That’s preposterous.
The same party that is even now pursuing multi-trillion boondoggles such as “Medicare for All” and the “Green New Deal” somehow believes it can convince the American people that its opposition to the wall is based primarily on a desire to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, but Democrats’ newfound austerity is unconvincing in light of their consistent, long-standing obsession with wasteful spending projects..
In fact, the federal government spends hundreds of billions of tax dollars every year on all sorts of questionable programs, and eliminating even a handful of the most egregious examples would easily suffice to pay for the pittance that President Trump is seeking for border security. Here are just a few examples:
#1 Yoga Classes for Federal Bureaucrats -In 2015, Senator Rand Paul’s office reported that $150,000 in taxpayer dollars were spent on yoga classes for federal employees. While most agencies require participants to pay for their own therapeutic exercises, others, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, and the Department of Energy shell out thousands of dollars for their employees to blow off steam and relax at taxpayer expense.
#2 Sugar and Dairy Subsidies – The U.S. spends about $1.5 billion each year subsidizing the sugar and dairy industries with artificial price supports, tariffs, production quotas, and other strategies that serve primarily to ensure that small cartels of high-volume producers retain a stranglehold on those markets at the expense of consumers.
#3 A high tech gas station in the Middle East – Who would have thought to build a state-of-the-art gas station for cars to fill up with compressed natural gas (CNG) in the heart of Afghanistan? The Department of Defense, that’s who. The DOD spent $43 million on the gas station, which practically nobody can use since very few Afghan cars actually run on CNG.
#4 A big, beautiful trolley – In late 2016, The Department of Transportation announced a $1.04 billion grant to expand the city of San Diego’s trolley services by 10.9 miles — around $100 million per mile. That’s enough money to fund up to 250 miles of four-lane highways, according to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
#5 The Joe Biden Express – The federal government spends roughly $1.9 billion per year on subsidies for the Amtrak system. While Amtrak may be a convenient way for Members of Congress to shuttle between D.C. and the Northeast seaboard, as Joe Biden famously did when he was in the Senate, it’s also a literal deathtrap. Insulated from the threat of competition, Amtrak has consistently cut corners when it comes to safety and maintenance, leading to a staggering number of accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives and caused thousands more injuries since the year 2000.
The list goes on and on. In its 2018 annual report, the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste identified about $3.1 trillion in wasteful spending over the next five years, including nearly $500 billion last year alone.
Clearly, Congress doesn’t have any problem wasting tax dollars on their own pet projects, no matter how bizarre.
Yet, when we the people tell our elected officials that we want our tax dollars to go towards crucial projects like a border wall to protect our communities from the threats of drugs, crime, and low-wage workers, the elitists in Washington sternly insist that they know how to spend our money better than we do.
Long, painful experience has proven that Congress has precious little regard for responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The feigned fiscal conscience Democrats are using to justify their refusal to allocate $5.7 billion for border security is downright laughable in light of the hundreds of billions of dollars they happily flush away every year.
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Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives.