Late last month, Senator Rand Paul, who is also the chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the Fall 2019 edition of "The Waste Report". This periodic report looks at how the Government spends taxpayer dollars and identifies eight examples of wasteful spending totaling $230 million. Outside of salaries and wages, social security, medicare, and other social program payments, the primary vehicle for the Government's spending is through contracts and grants. The eight examples of wasteful spending in this current report are rooted in Government contracts and grants. Here's a couple of examples.
The Government purchased textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren to develop, implement, and scale up a nationwide early grade reading curriculum and instruction program. An audit by the Office of Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction found that the textbooks had significant quality deficiencies, such as loose or blank pages, misspellings, and low-quality paper. A few hundred thousand were still sitting in warehouses but the OIG learned that there were no plans to distribute them. Moreover, many schools reported that because of the poor quality, the books were no longer in usable condition. The grantee responsible for printing and distributing the books blamed parents, students, and school officials for the problem of books falling apart.
The NIH (National Institute of Health) has spent $4.6 million studying the connection between drinking alcohol and winding up in the emergency room. The connection between drinking and driving should be common sense but NIH doesn't trust common sense and doled out money to study the connection between drinking alcohol, hurting yourself or somebody else, and winding up in the ER. So what have scientists concluded? That there is a correlation between drinking and getting hurt. Who in the Government thought that spending $4.6 million for this study was an good use of taxpayer dollars?
The Waste Report is only 16 pages and makes some interesting reading. Don't blame the contractors though. They're just providing a service for what the Government wants to buy.