$22 Trillion and Counting


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Government spending is out of control. On February 12, the United States’ national debt hit a new milestone in reaching an exuberant $22 trillion. Yes, trillion, with a T. Furthermore, a new budget was passed for fiscal year 2019 that will cost the United States $4.407 trillion and increase the national debt by almost $1 trillion. For reference, the top ten richest men in the world are not even worth $1 trillion combined! This is sheer insanity. Surely, there has to be something within the thousand page bill that could be removed or redirected to funding a barrier on the southern border. While the vast majority of Americans haven’t read the disgusting and irresponsible omnibus package, we can look to last year’s budget for similar occurrences.

One of the worst offenders, year after year, is the National Science Foundation (NSF). This laughable institution received $7.8 billion in 2018, and decided to spend it on great ideas such as using leaf blowers on lizards, measuring the endurance of mudskipper and bluegill fish on a treadmill, and studying horse and donkey hunting on the ancient Anatolian Peninsula. Sadly, these are not three isolated incidents. The NSF has a long history of wasteful spending. One of the most notable incidents is when they spent $700,000 on a study to find out whether Neil Armstrong said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” or if he said “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Yes, the NSF spent $700,000 of our taxpayer money to find out if Armstrong used a preposition in his famous quote.

So did he? Well, the NSF isn’t clear on whether he said the word “a” too quickly to be heard, and also points out that there is “substantial ambiguity” over what was said.

Senator Rand Paul put it best by saying the study was “truly groundbreaking.” To put the nail in the coffin, figuratively and literally, the original funding was supposed to go to studying autism or Parkinson’s disease.

About 44 years ago, Democratic Senator William Proxmire gave out his first “Golden Fleece Award,” which was a monthly tongue-in-cheek award given to public officials for their squandering of public money. The first of these awards went to, you guessed it, the NSF. They spent $84,000 on a study on love that came up fruitless. In 2011, Senator Coburn of Oklahoma released a 73-page report of wasteful studies the institution did that year, including important studies such as “What’s more photographed…the Fifth Avenue Apple Store or the White House?” and “What exactly does a low-budget robot rodeo and hoedown look like?”

Great job guys.

Although the National Science Foundation may seem to be the best institution in Washington D.C. for wasting taxpayer money, if you travel less than ten miles away you come to the most tremendous trash heap of the country, the State Department. According to Senator Rand Paul’s “Festivus Waste Report,” the State Department threw $97,284,393 straight into a fire.

Well, they didn’t literally do that, but they may as well have. From teaching Rwandan special interest groups and citizens how to lobby to making videos marketing U.S. colleges to Indian students, the condition of the State Department is quite melancholy. For example, why would the State Department develop a Pashto-language TV drama series for Afghanistan? According to them, the show would “convince audiences that working together to address grievances through civic engagement, constructive community involvement, and peaceful conflict resolution is more effective than resorting to violent extremism.”

There are only two problems. First, and most obvious, is the price tag. The second is that less than half of Afghans have a television. Well, at least it’s not like we spent $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan when about 0.4% of the population has a car. Anyways, if they insist on doing something like that again, how about a play instead? Oh wait, they did that too.

The government wastes a lot of our taxpayer dollars. There’s no denying that. But, what has been laid out above shouldn’t be a partisan opinion. Within this column, there has been no call to defund the United Nations or to stop the subsidization of killing babies, although I would be in favor of both.

The fact is this: if you want the government to grow,  and thus keep wasting our money, vote for leftists who want federal spending plans to be trillions of dollars. If not, vote for fiscal conservatives who do not want to continue bankrupting our country.

Daniel Elmore is a sophomore at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, North Carolina. He is the top of his class and is very active in local politics as well as his local food pantry.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Daniel Elmore

Alexander Central High School

Daniel Elmore is a sophomore at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, North Carolina. He is the top of his class and is very active in local politics as well as his local food pantry.

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