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 blog@cagw.org.




Cash for…Caulkers?

“Cash for Caulkers” sounds like a comical spin-off of the notorious “Cash for Clunkers” program.  But on May 6, 2010, the House of Representatives made sure this was no joke, voting 246-161 in favor of H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010.  The legislation authorizes a $5.7 billion program that will offer rebates to homeowners for renovations made using energy-efficient “green” materials, including better insulation and energy-saving windows and doors.

CAGW Tells FCC: We Refuse to Stay Neutral

On January 13, 2010, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) filed comments urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to tread lightly on the net neutrality issue and consider its significant impact on America’s flourishing broadband industry.  CAGW filed a second letter on April 7, 2010 reaffirming its opposition to the proposed net neutrality regulations and urging the FCC to steer clear of a reclassification of broadband under Title II of the Communications Act.

The Congressional Pig Book in Focus

April 14, 2010 was not just the day before tax day; it wasalso the day when hard-working taxpayers got the news that$16.5 billion of their taxeswas wasted on pork-barrel earmarks with the unveiling of Citizen Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) annual expose of pork-barrel spending, the 2010 Congressional Pig Book

Stimulus Rebellion on the Eastern Shore

There is a brawl brewing in the bucolic fields of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.  The Obama Administration’s $862 billion stimulus fund, ostensibly targeted toward shovel-ready, jobs-producing projects, is going toward the construction of a decidedly non-shovel-ready 2,000-acre U.S. State Department security training facility that residents in the region neither need nor want.  This tiny band of committed activists, comprised of Republicans, Democrats, private property rights advocates, conservationists, and small business owners, may go down in history as one of the only communities in the country to successfully reject a wasteful stimulus pork project. 

Time to Revisit the Benefits of $1 Coins

On April 21, 2010, the U.S. Treasury released its new version of the $100 bill.  Featuring an updated portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the bill boasts advanced measures to obstruct counterfeiters.  However, while the federal government has recently focused on this large tender, more attention needs to be paid to the other end of the currency spectrum: the $1 coin.

“There Ain’t No Rules Here”: Vote Buying, Fix-its, and Budget Gimmicks Used to Ram Through Healthcare Bill

On Christmas Eve morning, Senate Democrats managed to strong arm enough members with giveaways such as the “Cornhusker Kickback” and “Louisiana Purchase” to pass Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) healthcare bill, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This $2.3 trillion legislation, packed with tax increases, insurance mandates, Medicare cuts, and rationed care was rammed through the House on March 21, 2010 in a 219-212 vote.

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, www.recovery.gov., to the task of chasing down the dollars.

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.

Sex, Drugs and BlackBerrys

On the stimulus package's one-year anniversary on Feb. 17, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated that taxpayers had "gotten their money's worth."  However, it is difficult to understand how multimillion-dollar "stimulus" programs that research methamphetamine's effects on rats, build turtle crossings under highways, put up roadside signs to advertise stimulus programs and produce few long-term jobs are effective uses of taxpayer dollars.  In Washington, $977,346 is being spent on a program that will provide just one job and give a few hundred BlackBerrys to smokers to help them kick the habit.

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