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

Blue Dogs and PAYGO – Living in La La Land

On April 28, 2009, members of the so-called fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Coalition introduced H.R. 2116, the “Fiscal Honesty and Accountability Act of 2009.”  According to their website, the measure “would strengthen Congress’ commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability by reinstituting statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules.  The legislation, which would require both the House and Senate to abide by PAYGO rules if enacted into law, has been a cornerstone of the Blue Dogs’ efforts to restore fiscal discipline to the federal government.” 

Energy Battle Heats Up

Americans are feeling some relief from the drop in gas prices, which were more than $4.00 per gallon last summer and now hover around $2.25 per gallon.  After expectations that winter home heating costs would rise dramatically above the prior year, they rose less than predicted.  Some argue there is an “energy dividend” that is helping the economy by putting more money into consumers’ wallets.

Taking Taxpayers for a Ride

Most Americans have a favorite train story.  When my parents took my brother, sister and me out West in 1966, we took the overnight train from Denver to Salt Lake City.  We were awed by the beautiful scenery from the dome cars, ate well, slept comfortably, and enjoyed every minute of the trip.

The First Cut Is The Lamest, Not The Deepest

In February, President Obama introduced a $3.69 trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year, a proposal that would, according the Heritage Foundation, increase spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years, lead to a 12 percent increase in discretionary spending, and leave permanent deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers.  In a peace offering to get some political cover for this explosion of spending, President Obama called for his cabinet to make $100 million worth of spending cuts.  

Weatherization Assistance Program – A Perfect Storm of Potential Waste?

President Obama’s $787 billion so-called “stimulus” bill, formally known as the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will have reverberations throughout the economy for years to come.  The contained a wide range of new government spending programs as well as dramatic increases in existing programs, some of which had previously been funded with relatively small budgets. 

Ethical Lapses

In November, 2006, just after the sweeping victory by Democrats in the House of Representatives, the newly-minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised that her leadership team would create “the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”  This seems like ancient history now.  Since then, the House has been rocked by several allegations of unethical conduct.  Yet, the House leadership’s general reaction to the ethical violations that seem to bloom almost daily appear to follow a pattern of partisan posturing and denial, followed immediately by paralysis, and ending with little or no accountability.

Joint Strike Fighter: Platform for Waste?

Designed for service by the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and eight international partners, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is expected to produce an aircraft with a few variations that will ultimately replace the in-service F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft.  However, the program has long come under fire as being over-priced and behind schedule.

Obama’s Earmark Reform? ShamWow!

On March 11, 2009 President Obama signed the fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, which contained the nine remaining 2009 spending bills worth $410 billion.  After making dizzying campaign promises to eliminate congressional earmarking once he won the Oval Office, the President, out of the sight of the media, signed a bill containing thousands earmarks and schooled taxpayers on his new and revised view of earmarks.

Byrneing Down the House

The so-called “stimulus” bill signed by President Obama on February 17 has come under withering fire for being rife with wasteful boondoggles whose purposes are increasingly deemed to be more politically motivated than economically sound.  The bill contains funding for dozens of new programs and exorbitant plus-ups for many existing programs.  For example, buried in the depths of the leviathan-like bill is $2 billion for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.  In addition to the “stimulus” funding, Congress intends to include more money for the program in the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriations bills as well.

Waste and Fraud at the Central Intelligence Agency

Waste and fraud at the Central Intelligence Agency not only squanders taxpayers’ money but also endangers American lives.  When money is diverted away from intelligence missions on rogue state nuclear threats, for example, Americans are at risk.


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