The federal government is finding new and creative ways to spend US tax dollars, even as public debt soars into the trillions. Fiscal hawk Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) took aim at some of the most absurd programs out there.
Issued on Monday, the libertarian-leaning lawmaker’s quarterly report on government waste tracks some of the more outrageous uses of federal cheese, totaling over $230 million, ranging from academic studies on drug-addicted fish to, well, literal cheese.
A big slice of cheese
Last year, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) spent a cool $22 million subsidizing cheese production in the highlands of southwest Serbia, aiming to teach farmers in the region about “questionable practices…such as adding water or baking powder to the milk or skimming the fat.”
While the Serbian cheese-makers are surely fine by the multi-million dollar scheme, American dairy farmers might have different ideas. And with the United States in the middle of a massive, 1.4 billion-pound cheese surplus, it’s not clear how any of it is America’s business.
The report found fishy spending in other areas as well. To the tune of over $708,000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research in London to study a burning question: what happens when zebrafish get addicted to nicotine? Though the study hoped to uncover genetic links to dependency and addiction, some US taxpayers may want to know why they should foot the sizable bill