Where's The Pork? Mapping $2.3 Trillion in Federal Grants (FY2017–FY2019) | OpenTheBooks Oversight Report 38_pork

September 30, 2020 05:00 PM



Just how much federal waste, duplication and weird or unnecessary spending are your tax dollars funding?

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); space alien detection ($549,974); tai chi classes in senior centers ($671,251); a “walk and talk” mobile app for Latinas ($1.4 million); and creating outdoor gardens at schools ($1.6 million). Taxpayers funded story time at laundromats ($248,200); webcast-livestreamed eclipses ($1.9 million); and sex education for prostitutes in Ethiopia ($2.1 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 ($114.5 million), United Technologies ($51.9 million), and Boeing Corp. ($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.

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