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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.

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.

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. 

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.

The Year of Living Dangerously

The nation will hear President Obama’s first State of the Union Address on Wednesday as he tries to salvage a devastating plunge in popularity for his agenda.  But, as bad as it has been for the President, whose support has dropped from 69 percent a year ago to 48 percent, the largest first-year drop by any President that has been tracked by polls, it has been much worse for taxpayers.


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