American taxpayer dollars went to promote political parties in Tunisia and subsidize Pakistani films among other bizarre forms of spending. Eric Boehm of Reason notes that this “Waste Book” includes more than $50 billion in wasteful spending from “nation-building exercises in the Middle East, but also studies of frog mating calls, building “green” infrastructure in Peru, and improper payments made by federal entitlement programs.”
In Tunisia, the State Department dropped $2 million to “strengthen democratic institutions and processes,” allegedly to increase trust between the Tunisian people and their newly formed democratic system. Paul’s office indicates that the State Department spent more than $1.4 billion trying to boost Tunisian democracy since the 2011 uprising which saw dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali forced out of power.
“What makes State believe $2 million more will succeed where 1.4 billion has failed?” Paul’s report questioned. Although this pales in comparison to other nation building schemes in Afghanistan and Iraq, such aid will likely not help improve the political situation in Tunisia.
$100,000 was also spent to underwrite film productions in Pakistan. The grant is intended to help facilitate the production of up to 50 short Pakistani films featuring themes of “strength in diversity” and “women’s empowerment” according to the grant application documents.
Although this spending is a drop in the bucket compared to the $22 trillion in debt that the federal government has racked up over the years, it’s a good start in trying to get D.C’s fiscal house in order. Fiscal responsibility has to start somewhere, and slashing useless foreign aid projects is one way to get the ball rolling.