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

Anachronistic Earmark Offering from Culberson, Rogers, and Rooney

Americans might fondly remember 2006:  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was the top grossing movie, Sexyback by Justin Timberlake was at the top of the charts, and Bob Barker announced his retirement from The Price is Right.

Power of the Purse and Budget Process Reform

Since the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (CBA) was first passed, Congress has been able to pass the 12 appropriations bills on time on only three occasions; the most recent was in 1997.  Although the CBA has been amended several times, the budget process remains as broken as it is confusing.  It allows members of Congress to use gimmicks and waivers to avoid budget “requirements” that have necessitated the enactment of continuing resolutions and massive spending packages to keep the government running. 

Fixing the FCC

The peaceful transfer of power to a new administration has been a key part of the nation’s history.  This is particularly important when there is a change in parties at the White House. 

Beware of Midnight Regulations

As President Barack Obama’s term comes to an end, many federal agencies and departments are attempting to beat the clock by jamming a flurry of new regulations onto the books before January 20, 2017. 

Recovery Auditors and the Administrative Law Backlog: More "Fake News" Debunked

News junkies have been inundated lately with commentary on the ubiquity of “fake news” and its viral spread online.  On December 12, 2016, The New York Times President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson gave a thought-provoking speech before the Detroit Economic Club in which he made some incisive observations about the epidemic of junk news, including the fact that in this new anything-goes, free-for-all information environment, it is easy to forget that “fake news is not new.  The spreading of false rumors for political advantage, for pure malice, or just for entertainment, is as old as the hills….Until something is proven to be false, it’ll remain a story.  …Though it often seems like it to partisans, this is not a battle between Left and Right.  …It’s a battle between facts and lies.”

The Trump Trifecta: Three Branches, New Faces

The chattering political class, with scant exception, prognosticated that Donald J. Trump had only the narrowest of opportunities to win the White House in the 2016 general election.  Indeed, many such solons suggested that his bombastic style, in addition to losing his own race, might also cost the Republicans control of the Senate (all but a foregone conclusion, given that the GOP was in a much more vulnerable position, defending 24 of the 34 seats up for election).

NPS Ban on Bottled Water – "Going Forward"

For more than a year, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has been investigating the National Park Service’s (NPS) ban on the sale of bottled water, believing it was an obtrusive inconvenience to visitors and a waste of taxpayer dollars.  To date, 23 parks have decided to follow NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis’s December 14, 2011 NPS Policy Memorandum 11-03.  This policy allows parks, on a case-by-case basis, and after an extensive review and approval by their respective regional directors, to ban the sale of water contained in disposable plastic bottles.  The stated purpose of the ban was to reduce plastic in the parks’ waste stream and to decrease the carbon footprint as part of the NPS’s “Go Green” initiative. 

California's "Netflix Tax"

Cities in the Golden State are exploring what they might call a “golden opportunity” to compensate for the loss of tax revenue from declining cable-television subscriptions as more Americans choose video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

USPS Board of Governors Now Empty

On December 8, 2016, Chairman James Bilbray of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors served his final day, leaving the board with no independent governors for the first time in its short history.  As of this writing, only the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General make up the members of the “independent” board.                             

Intellectual Property Rights Fuel the Economy

On December 6, 2016, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) issued a report highlighting the economic impact copyright industries have on the economy.  These industries include producers and distributors of books, journals, movies, music, software, and video games.


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