Getting through the holidays can be tough, especially picking out the perfect gift. We all have that one friend or that one aunt who has indescribably difficult taste, making them nearly impossible to shop for around this time of year.
While you may have nailed those tough gifts, you made one crucial mistake in gift giving this December, and you weren’t even the one giving the gift. You just funded it. During the holiday season, American taxpayers funded more than $1 billion in government projects that are considered either unwanted or unneeded.
In her monthly newsletter for December, Sen. Joni Ernst called out Uncle Sam for being the worst gift giver during the Christmas season. The federal government spent your hard-earned taxpayer dollars on government projects that cannot be returned, exchanged, or re-gifted. Here are the five worst gifts you got the government for Christmas.
1. Unusable Telecommunication Towers
The State Department built six telecommunication towers in Afghanistan costing $6.5 million. These towers were build despite serious concerns about the project from senior officials in the State Department. Ultimately, the telecommunication towers could not be used.
2. Not-So-Camouflage Uniforms
According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Department of Defense “may have spent up to $28 million more than needed to procure camouflage uniforms that may be inappropriate for the Afghan environment.”
According to Ernst, the project ended up costing $94 million and soldiers were unable to wear the uniforms.
3. Housing for Retired Chimpanzees
The government awarded the Charles River Laboratories $7 million to construct housing for retired or retiring chimpanzees.
4. A Bent Rocket Tower
NASA spent approximately $1 billion on a bent rocket tower that required nine years to build and renovate properly. Over the course of ten years, NASA spent $912 million on a rocket tower it may use for just a single launch of a rocket.
5. A Defective Telescope
According to West Hawaii Today, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is planning to remove its teaching telescope after wasting $800,000 in federal grants on the defective telescope. The telescope was installed in 2010, but was never operational because it had a warped primary mirror, a leaking roof, and a faulty control system.