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.




The Invasive Nature of “Net Neutrality”

The world has seen an incredible increase in computer and Internet capabilities over the last decade.  This expansion has been spurred by the capitalist principles of competition.  The dynamism of the Internet is now being threatened by politicians who want to regulate it.  If implemented, regulation will stifle competition, raise consumer costs, and hinder high-speed Internet deployment and innovation.

Mrs. Bush, too, Loves the Earmarks

It’s funny how sometimes we just disregard the Constitution and the specific powers it gives to each branch of the federal government. I learned as well as many others in the ninth grade that the power of the purse is given to the Congress, so the citizens have some influence and comments on how their tax dollars were going to be spent. Funny how that never really worked out since there are so many projects funded through earmarks.

Congress Not Seeing Drug War Waste

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was established in 1988 to develop and coordinate policies and objectives to decrease illegal drug use, manufacturing, trafficking, drug-related crime and

The CVC - Not a Capitol Idea

With 580,000 square feet, three underground stories, and space three-quarters the size of the Capitol itself, the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) is a monument to Congress’s own excess.  It was recently announced that the project is experiencing yet another cost increase and construction delay.  On February 15, an official from the Government Accountability Office testified that the cost of the CVC will reach $584 million, 120 percent more than the original estimate.  Originally scheduled for completion in time for the 2005 presidential inauguration, the Architect of the Capitol (AoC) has esti

Taxpayers Get Charged Overtime

In March 2005, The Record revealed that more than 100 retired police officers with the New York Port Authority (PA) are getting at least $100,000 a year in pensions.  Because many senior PA cops were logging long hours of overtime, and because overtime is included in pension calculations, retirees are receiving up to double the pay they made in a normal working year.  At least 25 other PA retirees are getting pensions in excess of $100,000 as well.

Bingo Terror

In October 2005, the Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming won a $36,300 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect bingo halls from terrorists.  The money will pay for laptop computers with access to a law-enforcement database.  Authorities are concerned that terrorists may attempt to raise large amounts of cash by  playing bingo or running a charitable game. 

The Wal-Mart Bill

In January, the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Bob Ehrlich’s veto of the Fair Share Act.  The legislation requires all businesses in the state of Maryland with 10,000 or more employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on employee health benefits or pay the difference in a tax.  Although there are several large employers in the state, the bill only affects Wal-Mart.  In reality, this law has nothing to do with providing health insurance.  It represents the continuing effort of labor unions and their allies to demonize and punish successful, non-unionized companies.  A similar bill was passed in Suffolk County, New York that affects large, non-unionized grocery stores.

"Buy America" Rips Off America

“Buy America” provisions have been insterted into legislation, especially defense bills, for many years.  Usually, such provisions are removed from the final version of the defense legislation.  That happened late last year, when Senate leaders and administration officials convinced House Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunger (R-Calif.) to drop the provision from the fiscal 2006 Defense Authorization Act, which was then signed into law by President Bush.  The Buy America clause would have blocked the Pentagon from buying military equipment from international companies that receive government subsidies.  The removal of this language constitutes a victory for taxpayers and national security.  More competition in Defense procurement can only result in better value for taxpayers and improved equipment for military personnel. 

Government Credit Cards and Hurricane Katrina

The damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina left no question that taxpayers would be paying a hefty bill for rescue and reconstruction.  In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, more than $39 million of that bill was paid for by federal employees with government credit cards.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will soon release the first comprehensive audit of Katrina-related emergency expenditures.  A December 27, 2005 Associated Press article provided a glimpse at what the report might include; namely, charges that were excessive or used for purposes other than Katrina relief.

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