The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

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

It is Time to Deflate Federal Salaries

A recent trend in Washington, D.C. is to spend enormous amounts of taxpayer money on programs that politicians sell to the public as absolutely necessary and important.  That approach led to swift passage of the $700 billion TARP program, the $862 billion stimulus program and the $300 billion mortgage assistance program.  These programs have been expensive, ineffective and inefficient while all paid for with money the government had to borrow from taxpayers, as well as their children and grandchildren. 

Government Broadband is too Broad

When Congress passed and the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or the stimulus bill, in February 2009, $7.2 billion was allocated to expand broadband in the United States.  Of that amount, $2.5 billion was slated to go to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for its Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP). This program supplements an existing RUS program aimed at underwriting broadband projects, the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program.  That program was established by Congress as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, and modified as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.  Its primary goal is to provide loans to help bring Internet broadband service to unserved rural communities, which are generally defined as communities with populations of less than 20,000.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul - Trying to Track Stimulus Money Robs Oversight of Other Federal Spending

By now, news stories related to the difficulty in tracking expenditures related to the “stimulus” spending package, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and estimating jobs “created,” “retained,” or simply “funded” by the bill are legion, legendary; old news, in fact.  President Obama swore that his administration would track “every dime” of the $862 billion spending bill.  The federal government dedicated an $18 million website,, to the task of chasing down the dollars.

Stimulating…or Just Plain Depressing?

February 17, 2010 marked the one-year anniversary of America’s favorite farce, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Ironically, this $862 billion “stimulus” bill has proven to be nothing more than a profligate program that has further depressed the nation’s economy.

Don’t Count on an Efficient Census Bureau

The Census and the Super Bowl are American traditions whose paths had never crossed until February 7.  That is when the Census Bureau spent $2.5 million for an ad during the big game to urge people to fill out and send in their questionnaires.  This expenditure was just the latest in a number of high profile missteps by the agency.

The Ongoing Tanker Saga

The long saga of the Air Force refueling tanker may be coming to an end soon; or maybe not.  The latest request for proposal is due to be released shortly, and hearings this week on Capitol Hill indicate the battle may not be over.

Pulling the Plug on Yucca Mountain – A New Mountain of Waste

The 27-year saga of the nation’s permanent underground nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada continues.  After taking office in January, 2009, President Obama made good on his rash campaign promise to shutter the site, located 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Prime Cuts 2010: Quantifiable Recommendations for Change (We Believe In!)

President Obama’s January 27th State of the Union Address raised more questions than answers.  While the national debt continues to soar past $12.3 trillion and the unemployment rate hangs at 10 percent, Americans long to hear the President offer some commonsense solutions.  Instead, the President stubbornly clings to his stagnant tax-borrow-and-spend policies.  Taxpayers don’t want to pay for another stimulus package (which will undoubtedly be stuffed with wasteful pork-barrel projects like its predecessor), nor are they fooled by the administration’s attempt to re-label it as a “jobs” bill. 

The Many Perks of Congressional Employment

Supposedly in Denmark to attend the Copenhagen Climate Summit, multiple members of Congress have been criticized for treating the trip as a personal vacation.  The trip included seven Republicans and 15 Democrats, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – The Voldemort(s) of the Financial Crisis

On January 13, 2010, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) launched a year-long probe on the financial crisis with two days of hearings, starting with testimony from the CEOs of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley.  It is not clear whether the hearings and the subsequent report will be an authentic “teachable moment” or just another in a long line of show trials masquerading as serious congressional inquiries, but the early signs don’t look promising. 


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