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.




Murtha Intel Earmark Dispute

Representative John ‘Jack’ Murtha (D-Pa.) has long been known inside the beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions.  Now the American public has been treated to a view of the congressman’s strong-arm tactics; this time for throwing a temper tantrum and threatening his colleagues over a challenge to a $23 million pet project.

Rep. Boyda Imprisons Taxpayer Money for Museum

Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas) deserves to “do some time” for her theft from the taxpayers of $100,000 for an egregious earmark she added to the 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act.  The Kansas Regional Prisons Museum is set to receive the money to establish a site dedicated to the state’s historical and infamous penitentiaries and prisoners.

Budget Showdown in Georgia

Unless they get their act together, House Republicans in Georgia could lose their power just as fast as they acquired it.  After 130 years of Democratic dominance in the state legislature, a Republican majority was elected in 2006, but the members have not followed through on campaign promises.

Michigan’s Bold iPod Plan

Michigan’s budget deficit recently surpassed the $1 billion dollar mark.  With tax revenues being steady, the only conceivable reason for the budget deficit is out-of-control spending.  On April 5, Michigan House Democrats issued an education plan that would purchase an MP3 Player or iPod for every Michigan public school child. 

Real ID Nightmare

George Orwell’s 1984 provided a chilling look into a future of a Big Brother government obsessed with control and surveillance of the populace.  Even though he brilliantly chronicled the trials and tribulations of Winston Smith, Orwell left out one aspect of such an overbearing security state – the financial costs.  The Real ID Act and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) may be modern day manifestations of Orwell’s nightmare, except that these nonfictional laws include a price tag.

Solar Wall Symbolizes Failed Energy Policies

Congress and President Bush may revive a plan to build a giant solar panel system on the headquarters of the Department of Energy (DoE).  Intended to symbolize the government’s commitment to clean energy, the so-called “sun wall” instead shines a light on the government’s commitment to wasting tax dollars.

Deval Patrick's Pork-Barrel Politics

When Governor Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) campaigned for the office, he pledged to change Beacon Hill’s “politics as usual.”  Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Massachusetts, his three month term has been anything but. 

Bioterrorism Spending

After the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of five people exposed to anthrax spores sent through the mail in 2001, the federal government began pouring billions of dollars into biodefense research and development.  However, throwing money at a problem does not guarantee a solution; there must be proper follow-through and oversight to make sure the money is spent wisely. 

Abstinence of Logic

Abstinence education is not just for teenagers anymore.

In a strange shift in guidelines for grant awards, the government’s official message of no sex prior to marriage will be directed at single individuals up to 29 years old.  Hypothetically, this means a recently divorced man or woman weeks shy of their 30th birthday is now a target for taxpayer-funded, abstinence-only education.  This will be official policy starting in fiscal year 2007. 

Tis the Season for Government Negligence

When the government tries to play Santa Claus, bad things happen.  The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) allows certain charitable organizations exclusive access to federal workplaces to solicit contributions from employees.  The contributions can be made by cash or check or deducted from the employees’ paychecks.  In 2005, federal workers gave more than $260 million to more than 20,000 charities.  However, a large sum of that money goes to tax delinquent charities, also known as tax cheats. 

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