Photo: Getty Images
On Monday, President Donald Trump released his $4.7 trillion budget proposal, one that unsurprisingly asks for $8.6 billion to construct a wall on the southern border of the United States. Just as unsurprisingly, Trump would like to slash the budgets of departments and agencies that he’s not a huge fan of—like, say, the Environmental Protection Agency—and it also includes massive cuts to Medicare, more stringent requirements for Medicaid and SNAP, increased immigration fees, and it would eliminate a program that cancels the federal student loans for not-for-profit and government workers.
The budget would also increase the Pentagon’s spending power to an eye-watering $750 billion—an increase of 4.7 percent over last year’s defense budget. But according to an oversight report recently published by government watchdog organization OpenTheBooks.com, neither the Pentagon nor the Department of Defense need that much money, especially since they have a habit of spending $20-plus million on lobster tail in a single year.
OpenTheBooks analyzed just how much money the US government blew last September, and if you’re currently waiting in line at CoinStar to get some extra money for the IRS, it’s going to make you want to throw that machine through a Washington, DC window. “In the final month of the fiscal year, federal agencies scramble to spend what’s left in their annual budget,” OpenTheBooks explained in the report’s introduction. “Agencies worry spending less than their budget allows might prompt Congress to appropriate less money in the next fiscal year. To avoid this, federal agencies choose to embark on an annual shopping spree, rather than admit they can operate on less.”Last year, 66 federal agencies spent $97 billion of taxpayer money during the month of September, which is a 16-percent increase from fiscal year 2017, and a 39-percent increase from fiscal year 2015. During the final seven days—SEVEN DAYS —of September, those agencies burned through $53 billion, which is more than they spent during the entire month of August.
So what did they buy? Everything from a $9,241 Wexford leather club chair and a $11,816 commercial foosball table, to $673,471 worth of golf carts, to $1.7 million worth of pianos, tubas, and trombones. They also bought food—$402.2 million dollars’ worth. During that month, those assorted federal agencies treated themselves to ribeyes, top sirloin and flank steak ($293,245); pecans, walnuts, and mixed nuts ($244,197); candy and candy bars ($24,993); and “various sweet sauces” including honey, maple syrup, and white chocolate sauce ($17,118).
And then there was the seafood. The Department of Defense dropped $2.3 million on snow crab, Alaskan king crab, and crab legs, and another $2.3 million on lobster tail. But that $4.6 million seafood menu is just a fraction of what the department paid for various crustaceans last year. “We looked at the year, it was $22 million spent by the Pentagon on lobster tail alone,” OpenTheBooks.com CEO Adam Andrzejewski told FOX Business. “Over the course of the past four years, on lobster tail alone it was nearly $55 million.”Fifty-five million dollars. On lobster tail. Huh.Anyway, President Trump’s budget has very little chance of being approved by Congress in its current form. At best, it’s his own 150-page wish list, at worst it’s “divorced from reality” as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) described it. But, at some point before the actual budget is proposed, maybe someone can ask the Department of Defense what they’re doing with all that seafood—and what anyone wants with $17,118 worth of white chocolate sauce. Now that’s fucked up.