The 35-day old shutdown ended but without a $5.7 billion border wall. Trump and Congressional Republicans took the blame, team Schumer and Pelosi took a victory lap, and the rest of us are holding the bag. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it cost the economy some $11 billion–$3 billion of it lost permanently.

The next round is slated for February 15.

Meanwhile, California is bankrupt, but Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, allocated $77 billion for a high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles that’s not expected to be completed until 2033, if then…

So much for, priorities…Here are a few other taxpayer beneficiaries:

  • Obesity: A recent Milken Institute study of the costs to society of the obesity epidemic, found that, with more than 180.5 million of us either overweight or obese, it costs a whopping $1.72 trillion; the CDC puts the figure at $150 billion a year.
  • Opioids: From 2001 to 2017, the cost of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse cost society more than $1 trillion and is on track to hit $500 billion in just the next two years, according to a recent Altarum study.
  • Illegal Immigration: According to FAIR, in 2017, at the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers spent some $134.9 billion to cover the costs of our 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their 4.2 million citizen children. Illegals paid $18,968,857,000 in taxes that year, leaving society with a $116 billion tab.
  • Ed-Tech: In 2017, the bill for K-12 education technology topped the $14 billion mark, according to govtech.com. Meanwhile, venture capitalists “sunk” $13 billion into ed tech start-ups. Nevertheless, education historian Diane Ravitch says, “There’s precious little evidence suggesting its trademark innovations have done anything to improve teaching and learning.”
  • K-12 Standardized Testing: Along with the loss of classroom teaching/learning time, a major 2012 Brookings Institute’s Brown Center on Education Policy report found that 44 states and D.C. spend a whopping $1.7 billion a year on assessments. That’s an average $65 per student, with D.C. spending the most at $114 for each. The report also notes that had the money gone instead to teacher raises, each would have received some $550 more in their paychecks.

Ever wish you oversaw the purse strings?