Now that Democrats have dug in on their refusal to spend $5.7 billion on some sort of border barrier, I thought it might be fun to point out some expensive things that do get approved.

Now, $5.7 billion is a lot of money, to be sure, but in the context of a $4 trillion federal budget, it’s a drop in the bucket.

As a percentage, it’s roughly one-tenth of 1 percent. It’s fun to watch all the hand-wringing, isn’t it?

Remember when the Obama administration dumped $150 billion in cash into the coffers of our sworn enemy Iran?

Most Democrats thought that was OK.

Courtesy of Citizens Against Government Waste, here are a few items of interest:

Democrat Kamala Harris, of California, won CAGW’s Porker of the Year award this  year.

She proposed a $76 billion bill that would subsidize rent with taxpayer dollars. Tenants would have been incentivized to rent the most expensive allowable properties and landlords would juice the rent without facing any financial risk.

The Tax Foundation concluded Harris’ plan “would fail to address the root causes of the high cost of housing.  Instead, it would wind up benefiting landlords, not significantly improving the lives of renters, and carrying a hefty price tag.”

University of Georgia economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman wrote, “Instead of the Rent Relief Act, we could call it the Landlord Enrichment and Taxpayer Fleecing Act.”

CAGW’s “2018 Congressional Pig Book” billed as “The book Washington doesn’t want you to read” is out. It lists literally tens of billions of tax dollars spent on dubious projects.

• $65 million for Pacific coastal salmon recovery, a 333.3 percent increase from the $15 million last earmarked in FY 2015

• $1.37 billion for 31 earmarks for health and disease research under the Defense Health Program. Yeah, but the Food and Drug Administration does that.

• $593 million for two earmarks funding the continued upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank to the M1A2SEP variant.

Sounds reasonable, you might say, except Congress passed the funding over the objection of the defense department. Defense department officials – in congressional testimony – told lawmakers the U.S. possesses more than enough tanks to meet the country’s needs.  In fact, the Army has so many M1 tanks that 2,000 of them are parked in a California desert.

• $140 million for two earmarks for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program. It allows for the use of military personnel in domestic drug enforcement operations. Nice program, except the Drug Enforcement Agency already is responsible for exactly the same thing.

• Simply maintaining unused government buildings annually costs the taxpayers $1.7 billion annually. “In FY2016, federal agencies owned 3,120 buildings that were vacant (unutilized), and another 7,859 that were partially empty (underutilized),” the CAGW reports.

There are lots of smaller federal programs that are just plain amusing. Here are a few, as compiled by

• The feds spend $613,634 to boost “intimacy and trust” of transgender women and their male partners. (The Washington Free Beason)

• The feds spent $5 million paying hipsters to stop smoking and then blog about it (as well as use cool anti-smoking swag – like beer koozies). (Readers Digest)

• Northwestern University has received more than $3 million in National Institutes of Health funding to watch hamster fights. “Some of those experiments involved injecting hamsters with steroids, then putting another hamster in the cage to see if the drugged rodents were more aggressive when protecting their territory. This program has since been halted following protests from animal rights activists.” (Readers Digest)

• The feds spend $1,009,762 training “social justice” math teachers. (The Washington Free Beacon)

• “The government spent at least $518,000 in federal grants to study how cocaine affects the sexual behavior of Japanese quail.” (Readers Digest)

So yeah, I guess that’s why there’s no money for a wall.

But then again, this isn’t really about money, is it?