By Adam Andrzejewski
The ever-rising federal debt will soon surpass $27 trillion – at least $82,000 for every person in the U.S. Just how much federal waste, duplication, and weird or unnecessary spending are your tax dollars funding?
It’s hard to know where to begin. Not every federal grant is wasteful, but there are plenty that are highly questionable.
Today, we published our oversight report “Where’s The Pork? Mapping $2.3 Trillion In Federal Grant-Making (FY2017-FY2019).” Now, you can search our interactive map and explore every federal grant by ZIP Code across the country.
How much waste or unnecessary spending is flowing from Washington, D.C. into contractors located in your own backyard?
Just click a pin (ZIP Code) on our interactive map and scroll down to see “who” received “how much” rendered in the chart beneath the map.
Consider our top ten takeaways – developed after reviewing federal grant data between the fiscal years 2017 and 2019:
1. Summary: Federal agencies awarded 1,999,811 grants for $2.3 trillion (FY2017-FY2019). The average award during this period was $1,128,088.
2. Pork Barrel Spenders: Democrats held eight and Republicans held two of the top ten grant-receiving congressional districts. Among the top fifty grant-receiving districts, the Democrats held thirty seats and Republicans held twenty.
3. Waste Examples: Hookers For Jesus ($530,190); tai chi classes in senior centers ($671,251); creating outdoor gardens at schools ($1.6 million); and space alien detection ($7 million). Taxpayers funded story time at laundromats ($248,200); sex education for prostitutes in Ethiopia ($2.1 million); a social media war on tanning beds ($3.3 million); webcast-livestreamed eclipses ($3.7 million); and subsidized the airport on Martha’s Vineyard ($12 million).
4. Top Agencies: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed $1.5 trillion in grants – which was approximately seven of every ten dollars. Twenty-one other agencies awarded $1 billion in grants.
5. United Nations (UN): 59 agencies and entities of the UN received $11.8 billion in grants from nine federal agencies during the three-year period.
6. World Health Organization received an increase in funding during the first three-years of the Trump administration (2017-2019) vs. the first-three years of the Obama second-term (2013-2015): $1.4 billion vs. $1.1 billion (inflation adjusted).
7. Ivy League, Inc. The eight Ivies received $9.8 billion in federal grants despite having a collective endowment of $140 billion – which was up $20 billion since 2016.
8. Fortune 100: ten companies received a combined $271.5 million in federal grants (2017-2019). The top companies included General Electric GE 0.5% ($114.5 million), United Technologies UTX 0.0% ($51.9 million), and Boeing Corp. BA 0.1% ($27.4 million). Collectively, these three companies spent $174 million lobbying Congress (2014-2017).
9. Top For-Profits: The top receiver was Amtrak ($5 billion). Amtrak’s revenues were $10.2 billion; therefore, federal grants comprised half of all revenues (2017-2019).
10. Economic Subsidy (per capita): Washington D.C. received more than $58,000 per person, followed by Alaska ($17,639), New York ($10,987), Vermont ($10,240), and New Mexico ($9,944). Despite the claim “taxation without representation,” DC certainly gets a lot of grants.