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

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.

“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.

To Infinite and Beyond!

In 2004, former President George W. Bush announced his “Vision for Space Exploration.” In it he called for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop new spaceflight vehicles as part of the Constellation Program that would aim to return humans to the Moon by 2020.  The estimated budget for implementing this program, according to a July 17, 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, was nearly $230 billion. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.).


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