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.




Wasted Healthcare Dollars

As the national debt exceeds $12 trillion and the monthly deficit record of $176 billion was set in October, it would behoove officials in Washington to take reports of wasteful spending more seriously.  This is especially true in regard to the tens of billions of dollars that are wasted each year in federal healthcare programs.

USPS Wants To Branch Out

The holiday season is upon us; the time of year when the mailbox tends to begin filling up with gift catalogs and greeting cards from friends and family.  This is also the time of year when the United States Postal Service (USPS) has traditionally seen a spike in mail traffic, as its fiscal health is often pegged to the level of first-class mail traffic that occurs over the holiday season.  Those circumstances are dire regardless of how much mail is sent through the end of the year, and the cure sought by postal officials is worse than the disease.

Jobs Numbers and White House Propaganda

One of the cornerstones of the stimulus bill was to create jobs and help the economy get back on its feet.  The Obama administration estimated that between 3 and 4 million jobs would be created or saved once the bill was enacted.

Amidst the Healthcare Hubbub, Cap-and-Trade Moves Ahead

While Congress and the American public remain fixated on the contentious healthcare debate, little attention has been paid to S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, better known as the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill.  Democrats have used this distraction to their advantage, steadily pushing the onerous climate change legislation forward.

Congress Plans to Tap Medicare to Pay for Healthcare Reform

The Senate Finance Committee has reported out S. 1796, its version of a health care reform bill.  This was preceded, and indeed made possible, by an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the bill would increase federal government spending by only $829 billion in 2010-2019.  With new taxes and reductions in projected spending in Medicare and Medicaid, CBO said this would actually result in a net saving to the federal budget of $81 billion over this period.  The bill’s advocates greeted this estimate with relief, tinged with self-congratulation for having produced a bill that, in the current environment, was considered by them to be fiscally responsible.

Healthcare: Everyone Gets a Deal and Taxpayers Get the Tab

No one questions that the nation’s healthcare system is troubled and needs to be fixed.  Typically, Congress would propose legislation to fix the heart of the problem and then cut whatever side deals are needed to pass the legislation. 

The Obama administration and congressional majority campaigned on a theme of changing the way Washington worked.  Most voters assumed that meant negotiations on major legislation would be open and transparent.  Unfortunately, there is less transparency than ever as final House and Senate healthcare bills are being crafted behind closed doors.

Taxpayer Money Flying Out the Door

Even if many Americans don’t think that the stimulus package is working, there is still a desire to ensure that the money is being spent wisely rather than being thrown down a rat hole.  But, the news that is trickling out from the states does not look good.

Broadband Boondoggles

Wanted:  $4.7 billion for a national broadband grant program.  Prior experience not necessary.

The 72 Hour Bill: A Struggle to Read Over the Shoulder of Congress

This summer’s tea parties and town hall meetings drew hundreds of thousands across the nation.  Although there were many issues of concern including healthcare, cap-and-trade, and the general overspending problems in Washington, citizens were united by one common goal: to remind members of Congress that they work for the American people. 

Medicare is Afflicted with Chronic Wasting Disease, and its Catchy

All of the healthcare reform bills currently under consideration depend, to a significant degree, upon eradicating waste and abuse from Medicare in order to offset the costs of the new coverage package.  Squeezing waste out of Medicare is a laudable goal and an aggressive waste eradication campaign could yield savings of $40 to $50 billion annually (conservatively), or 10 percent, a much higher percentage of fraud than exists in private healthcare systems.  Unfortunately, it is a pipedream.  Administrations and Congresses going back decades have tried, and failed miserably, to eliminate the waste. 

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