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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.




Extreme Makeover: San Joaquin River

How much should it cost to restore salmon to a river?  Try $22 million per salmon under legislation that is moving through Congress. 

The Government’s Net Loss

Government involvement in the private sector and technology has been a disaster.  The technology industry is a dynamic, fast-moving industry delivering new products to consumers every day and the government is struggling to perform even the most basic tasks such as creating software for a fully functioning e-travel system for the Pentagon (see the story about the Defense Travel System).

Earmarks Invade DC

An op-ed in the May 17 Washington Post by Colbert King showed that earmarks know no boundaries.  King cited $56 million in projects in the District of Columbia’s budget that were “initiated and approved by the [city] council without extensive executive branch review.” 

Pentagon’s Travel System Still Grounded

There are a lot of reasons to complain about air travel:  overbooking, rising costs, delays, cancellations, uncomfortable seats, and rude passengers, among others.  With all of these hassles, travelers do have a plethora of online travel services to try and obtain the cheapest flight.  With the immense of amount of travel undertaken by the federal government and especially the Department of Defense, an online travel system sounds like a marriage made in heaven.  Unfortunately, combining logic and the federal government is as easy as putting a square peg in a round hole.

What’s In Your Wallet? Free Goodies Courtesy of Taxpayers

In an audit of federal employees’ use of credit cards, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found some shocking charges with a debatable relationship to necessary costs.  For example, during more than 15 consecutive months between 2004 and 2006, a U.S. postmaster charged $1,100 to two Internet dating services, and faced no disciplinary action for the fraudulent transactions.  For nearly six years, a Department of Agriculture employee charged more than $642,000 to her government account, covering expenses ranging from car loans to gambling. 

Coconut Road Outrage

An update on the ongoing drama associated with what CAGW has dubbed “the immaculate earmark.”

Fill’er Up with Politics

The Air Force refueling tanker saga started with a provision added to the fiscal 2002 Defense Appropriations Act directing the Air Force to lease 100 Boeing 767’s for new fuel tankers.  It was not only one of the worst examples of corporate welfare, this no-bid lease also ballooned into a major scandal.  Eventually, the Air Force’s chief negotiator on the tanker contract and Boeing’s number-two corporate officer went to jail and Boeing was fined more than $600 million.

Home, Home on the Range, Where the Big Railroad Companies Graze Or South Dakotans Should Choo Choo Choose Their Own Destiny

When one thinks of western South Dakota, one imagines sweeping vistas and beautiful ranches.  However, the Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) is threatening to grab massive swaths of this beautiful private land in western South Dakota to build 120 miles of new rail line.

Europe Assaults U.S. Businesses

As the global economy slows, every effort should be made to encourage businesses to invest, innovate, and market their products around the world.  Unfortunately for taxpayers and investors, European regulators are abusing their power in a manner that will adversely impact the ability of the world to avoid the worst results of the current slowdown.

Three Coins in a Fountain

When one tosses a coin into a fountain it is customary to make a wish. The wish could be as substantial as, “I wish for the winning numbers to the lottery,” or it could be as elusive as “I wish for cancer to be cured.”  Until the budget for the fiscal year of 2009 was drafted, never before has a wish dictated the potential use of the discarded currency.

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