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Shopping for a good deal and hoping to save a bundle this holiday season?

Then don’t let Uncle Sam do your Christmas shopping!


Washington—the world’s biggest buyer—is no bargain hunter.

You may recall the Air Force recently paid $1,220 for a coffee cup that was so fragile it easily broke if dropped.

And that’s just one small example of how federal agencies are often overpaying millions—and even billions—of your tax dollars for poor products and shoddy services. Here are a few others:

  • A $4 million federal grant for an employment training program in Atlanta, Georgia resulted in just one single person getting a job. That’s right, only ONE person!
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may have overpaid $33 million for faulty and recalled cardiac devices. That’s enough to give taxpayers a heart attack!
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants were spent to purchase properties in Honolulu, Hawaii at millions of dollars above market value. And it gets worse: the rent at some of the apartments actually increased for the residents after the government bought the buildings…while other units have sat vacant or underutilized for years.

Unfortunately, these are just a few examples of egregious D.C. spending that often goes underreported to hardworking Iowa taxpayers. Iowans who work day-in and day-out to make ends meet deserve to know their hard-earned dollars aren’t being wasted.

To do that, we need to increase transparency and allow more scrutiny of these government projects. That’s why—included in my Christmas wish list—is a commonsense idea to hold Washington more accountable.

The Taxpayer Right to Know Act, would require a public report card listing every federal program along with regular updates on the costs and performance outcomes of each. Bureaucrats would be forced to make a list and check it twice for taxpayers to determine for themselves who has been naughty or nice with their tax dollars. What might come as no surprise to you is that this bipartisan bill has been held up for YEARS by a single senator, Chuck Schumer of New York.

That’s why I am awarding my December 2020 Squeal Award to the Democratic Leader of the Senate for his one-man effort to hide how the government spends your tax dollars.

Author: Joni Ernst

Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.


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