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.




Salvage the Good from the Healthcare Debacle

The healthcare reform juggernaut, arguably the most radical attempt to remake the economy and the nation’s healthcare infrastructure in history, was supposed to have flown through Congress before the August recess with nary a peep.  Instead, as Americans have gotten wind of its alarming provisions and exorbitant costs, the plan appears to be fizzling fast in the summer heat.

“Cash for Clunkers” Comes to a Screeching Halt

This past June, Congress added $1 billion to the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act for the “Consumers Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009”.  Though it had no business appearing in an emergency war funds bill, this “Cash for Clunkers” provision established a new one-year program administered through the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that gave individuals with older, less fuel efficient cars a credit worth up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a new car that met certain fuel efficiency standards.

Public Outrage Grounds Congressional Jets

In 2005, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) tried to fund the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” which would have connected the mainland of Alaska to an island of only 50 people.  After the bridge became the “poster child” for pork and taxpayers expressed their disdain, funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere” was eliminated. 

Let the Sun Shine In on How The Government Spends Your Money

The nation just marked the six-month anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or the stimulus law, that Congress passed hurriedly in February.  Billions of our hard-earned tax dollars were injected into the ailing economy.  In that mad rush, we were told there wasn’t time to work out all the details.

OMB Plays Three Card Monte With Deficit Numbers

As a rite of August when the nation’s capital moves slowly, official Washington plays an interesting game of re-estimating the budget deficit.  It is known as the Mid-Session Budget Review and both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) take part.  While both review the state of the federal budget and outlook for projected deficits over the next 10 years, they issue very different reports.

Fahrenheit 451 Redux at the EPA

In legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, the government suppressed independent thought and analysis for the good of the people.  It was better to keep the populace ignorant of differing opinions than to challenge the status quo in the society described in that book.

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

On May 12, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) undertook an ambitious project to find out if members of Congress were trying to influence how the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka economic stimulus bill, were being spent.

PASS ID

In 2005, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) put on a full court press to stop the implementation of the REAL ID Act.  After being attached to a supplemental appropriations bill and being voted on without hearings or any debate, REAL ID was going to be an expensive national ID card that would have put tax dollars and privacy at risk.  REAL ID was supposed to be implemented by the end of 2008.  Due to states opting out and logistical problems, that deadline has been pushed to the end of 2009, a date that is still impossible to meet.

Will Obama’s IGs Be Blood Hounds or Lap Dogs?

Federal statutes currently allow for 69 inspectors general (IG) at all cabinet departments, large agencies and other designated federal entities.  These offices are charged with overseeing how tax dollars are spent.  Since they are, in effect, “first responders” to potential waste, fraud, and mismanagement within the government, IGs are granted broad powers to ensure a level of independence over those they are auditing or investigating.

Beach Houses: Owned By the Rich, Paid For By Everyone

Washington’s next fiscal giveaway: a bailout for wealthy homeowners living along risky, hurricane-prone coastlines.  Attempting to find a solution to rising homeowners’ insurance rates, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on July 2, 2009 to discuss the Homeowners’ Defense Act as a possible solution.

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