The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste


Times Have Changed

Once there was a time when 30-page college papers were typed on portable electric typewriters, research was done in library stacks, and job applications were filled out by hand.  Taxes were filed on paper and mailed (postmarked no later than April 15th) at the local post office, and shopping meant going to the local market and buying what was available at the store.  How times have changed.

Eighteen Years and Counting

On February 8, 2014, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 will turn eighteen years old.  For most eighteen year-olds this is a major milestone in life.  Gaining a sense of maturity; showing that one is ready to face the world.  You even get to vote. 

Opening up Wi-Fi to the Internet of Things

Over the weekend, a high school freshman printed a history report; a man researched job postings over the Internet on his tablet; a family watched a TV show on their laptop while waiting for an appointment; and, a woman talked to her mother on her home’s cordless phone.  All of these actions used unlicensed spectrum either through a Wi-Fi connection, or near-point radio frequencies.

Freeing Up Government Held Spectrum

On December 11, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve a bi-partisan measure that would provide incentives to federal agencies to free up more spectrum.

Computer Glitches or Poor Program Management

According to a July 17, 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had obligated $303.4 million (77 percent of its total obligations for Obamacare) to establish the healthcare data hub, provide information technology support for federal employees working on the healthcare exchange, the website, and a healthcare call center.  The GAO highlighted that while HHS had met its project schedules and milestones for establishing agreements and developing a data hub, severa

Software Mess At IRS

On August 29, 2013, The Washington Post published an article about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Terence Milholland and his desire to make the agency’s information technology (IT) program “world-class.”  The article cited the uphill battle Milholland faces in merging disparate IT systems, retraining programmers in newer technologies, and dealing with entrenched stove-piped IT systems.  Whil

Keeping Internet Access Free of Taxes

On November 1, 2014, the moratorium banning discriminatory taxes on the Internet and taxes on Internet access imposed by the Internet Tax Freedom Act in 1998 will expire.  At the time the legislation was initially enacted, the Internet had approximately 300 million users.  Since then, the number of users on the Internet has increased to nearly 2.3 billion world-wide.

E-Rate Program Reform To Take Center Stage at FCC

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be meeting to discuss, among other items, reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF)’ E-Rate program, which was highlighted in the July edition of Wastewatcher.  It is expected that the outcome of this meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to obtain comment on how the program can be re-organized to meet the goals of the President Obama’s recently

Halting Wireless Tax Increases

The June 2013 early release report on wireless substitution by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that the percentage of adults and children living in households with wireless only telephone service has been on a steady increase since 2003.  The data in the report indicates that wireless-only population is now about 36.5 percent and overall household adoption of wireless is now set at 89 percent of the population in the U.S. as of the end of 2012.

"Campaign to Cut Waste" Falls Short

On June 13, 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order No.


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