The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

A Cure for Electoral Depression: Focus Final 2016 Presidential Debate on Policy Solutions

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


In a recent poll, a sizable portion of young Americans said they would rather vote for a giant meteor to strike the Earth over either of the two presidential candidates.  There might be a reason for such a dark and depressing result.  The first two presidential debates have utterly failed to discuss important issues facing the nation with any depth, choosing to focus on shenanigans instead of substance. 

Before the first presidential debate on September 27, 2016, CAGW proposed policy questions that would enlighten taxpayers of all ages as to where each candidate stands on critical government waste issues facing the nation.  As frustration with politics and government mounts, the moderators and the candidates must take seriously the daunting fiscal issues facing our nation, not just focus on the salacious differences the candidates have with each other.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet for their final debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas tonight.  All taxpayers should hope that questions related to America’s deteriorating fiscal situation will get a full and fair hearing.  CAGW proposes the following questions be asked at the third debate:

  • Secretary Clinton:  In your presidential announcement speech on June 13, 2015, you said, “We need expertise and innovation from the private sector to help cut waste and streamline services.”  What are three steps you would take to run the federal government more like a business?
  • Mr. Trump:  In a speech on September 7, 2016, you said, “I will ask that savings be accomplished through common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks.”  Would you support the creation of a second Grace Commission, which would scour the federal bureaucracy to identify and eliminate government waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement?
  • Secretary Clinton:  During your last full year in the U.S. Senate, you requested 292 congressional earmarks, for more than $350 million.  Because earmarks are a proven incubator of corruption and government waste, there is now a congressional moratorium on the practice.  Do you regret your use of earmarks during your time in the Senate, and would you support a permanent ban?
  • Mr. Trump:  On healthcare, you said in a September 27, 2015 interview on 60 Minutes that, “I am going to take care of everybody,” and when you were asked how you would pay for it, you said, “the government’s gonna pay for it.”  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that government-subsidized health coverage through Obamacare will cost $866 billion over the next 10 years and the Government Accountability Office has found very few anti-fraud protections exist in the program.  How can you support the repeal of Obamacare while saying the government will pay for everyone’s healthcare?
  • To both candidates:  As president, would you support the establishment of a commission, like the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, that would root out duplicative, wasteful, inefficient, and outdated federal agencies and then force Congress to vote, up or down, on the commission’s recommendations?
  • To both candidates:  CAGW’s annual Prime Cuts database details numerous ways to cut into the growing national debt.  The 2016 version contains 618 recommendations that would save taxpayers $644.1 billion in one year, which is more than enough to eliminate the estimated budget deficit of $503 billion in fiscal year 2017.Will either of you commit to submitting a balanced budget to Congress by the end of your first term?

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