Billions for foreign governments, pennies for Americans

After months of partisan squabbling and shady backroom dealing, a new “COVID relief” package has been signed into law. Best described as a rotten, $2.3 trillion cherry atop an equally repulsive year of government fraud, waste, and corruption, the new legislation has seen very little celebration surrounding its passage, as even the most stalwart progressives have taken to criticizing it for its numerous shortcomings and unwanted caveats.

And with good reason: As more are pointing out every day, there is enough pork in this package to put Tyson Foods out of business. To name just a few of the more infamous provisions, we have (checks notes) $10 million for gender programs in Pakistan, $1 billion to the Smithsonian Museum (which is still closed), and a section including a "statement of policy regarding the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama."

Of course, the absurdity does not stop here; it would take a manifesto to properly outline the vast recklessness and deceit in this package, begging the question, “Have we learned absolutely nothing from what we’ve already seen from Washington this year?”

ADVERTISEMENT

As Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE’s (R-Ky.) “Festivus” report on government spending during 2020 would indicate, the answer appears to be a resounding “Hell no!” Take a cursory glance and you’ll soon discover a trove of hidden gems like $36 million to study why stress turns hair grey, $7 million in cancer research funds to build a “smart toilet”, $3 million to interview San Franciscans on their use of cannabis, $1.5 million to observe lizards on treadmills, another $1.5 million to getting Eastern Mediterranean youth to stop smoking hookah, and over $1 million to helping Americans get over their fear of going to the dentist.

Given the circumstances, it would be understandable should one need to laugh to keep from crying. After all, any entity that is $27 trillion in debt should be ridiculed when their only response to a problem is to spend more money.

As ridiculous as all of this seems, however, the truth of the matter is, with each taxpayer dollar wasted, our own government sends us closer toward our collective fiscal and societal doom. With the Congressional Budget Office reporting a $3.1 trillion deficit for Fiscal Year 2020, it is undeniable that the government’s response to the pandemic has only accelerated the timeline, further guaranteeing a grim fiscal existence for America’s youngest generations.

While the solution to this very multifaceted problem is far from simple, one conclusion may be drawn: Apathy and ignorance are no longer options. A binary approach toward both educating our fellow Americans and mobilizing them to action must take root if we are to rescue our country from the clutches of financial ruin.

The question every American should ask right now: What could possibly be more out of touch than a political elite who ships billions of dollars to foreign countries while shutting down our own economy and forcing us to wonder where our next meal will come from?

Until this question receives the public attention it deserves, politicians (including many self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives”) will continue to get away with bankrupting our country under the pretense of “relief.”

Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).