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.




Going Off the Rails in Texas

America’s first high-speed rail project could happen in Texas, where Houston and Dallas would be connected along a 240-mile stretch of railroad.  However, what Texas Central Partners (TCP) and other high speed rail advocates are calling the Texas Central Rail, CAGW considers a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.

Making the Case for Dynamic Scoring

When Congress considers legislation to lower taxes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will be using dynamic scoring to help estimate its cost.  In 2015, Congress required CBO to use dynamic scoring on legislation with an impact of at least 0.25% of gross domestic product over the next 10 years (about $45 billion in 2015), or at the request of the Budget Committee chairman.

Another Tool to Modernize Federal IT

The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on information technology (IT), with more than 75 percent of this spending used on operations and maintenance of existing legacy IT systems.  On May 17, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2227, the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 (MGT Act).

The Louisiana House Should Reject Pharmaceutical Price Controls

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has been tracking numerous bills in states throughout the country that are masquerading as a way to lower drug costs by implementing pharmaceutical cost transparency.  Supporters claim the legislation will help everyone understand how prescription drugs are priced by collecting information about manufacturing costs and pricing data that would be studied and analyzed by the government. 

Pennsylvania Attempts Faulty Price Control Scheme for Prescription Drugs

In their July 2, 2015 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commentary, “Price Transparency or TMI,” Office of Policy Planning authors Tara Isa Koslov and Elizabeth Jex noted, “Is more information about prices always a good thing for consumers and competition?  Too much transparency can harm competition in any market, including in health care markets.”

The House Passes H.R. 1628, a Bill to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017.  Only Republicans voted for the measure and every Democrat voted against it, along with 20 Republicans.  The vote was 217 to 213.

NYT Is Completely Wrong on Internet Freedom

The New York Times’ April 30 editorial on the effort by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to restore internet freedom gets everything wrong, particularly the claim that giving something for free as an inducement to sell services is somehow bad for consumers and small businesses.

Trade Negotiations Should Review Findings of Special 301 Report

During President Trump’s campaign and throughout his first 100 days in office, there was a great deal of discussion about tearing up or renegotiating various trade agreements, especially the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  President Trump announced on April 27, 2017 that instead of withdrawing from NAFTA, as he often suggested during the campaign, he would instead renegotiate the agreement.  While the President may be focused on what he views as unfair trade practices and their impact on jobs, he must not forget about intellectual property (IP) rights.

Wasteful IRS Program Fails to Prevent Tax Fraud

The least favorite government agency during the month of April is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (although that may be true every month of the year).  During the 2015 tax season, only 38 percent of phone calls were answered, as the IRS hung up on more than 30 million taxpayers.  The tax code and tax regulations combined are more than 70,000 pages long.  Annual compliance with IRS paperwork takes 8.9 billion hours and costs the economy $409 billion in lost productivity.

Free File Should Remain Free

Members of Congress and big-government advocates who believe bureaucrats know best just cannot tolerate private sector success.  For example, the well-established and popular Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Free File program, which provides taxpayers that make under $64,000 annually with an option of 12 tax preparation companies to file their taxes at no cost, is under attack.

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