Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
June 4, 2001(202) 467-5300


“There’s plenty more where that came from.”

Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today commended the Bush Administration’s recent decision to eliminate an $860,000 federal program that counseled public housing tenants to reduce stress and kick drug addictions by using alternative methods of therapy including meditation and aromatherapy or by surrounding themselves with relaxing colors. 

The Creative Wellness HELP program, implemented during former-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s tenure, was set to go national right before the Bush team eliminated funding

“This is asinine.  More than $600 of HUD’s drug-fighting budget was spent on ‘nutrition kits’ - that included sugar, candy, and Jim Beam whiskey,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “That’s not exactly what kids should get to keep them off drugs.”

The program also uses “applied kinesiology” to improve tenants’ health and self-esteem.  Here a wellness trainer probes a person’s glands to determine which of 14 personality types (each type is named for a Greek or Roman god or goddess) they are.  A pancreatic Minerva, for example, is a nurturer, a talented teacher and concerned citizen.

“This program is a perfect example of how government spends money on completely frivolous, even nonsensical items,” Schatz also said.  “The Creative Wellness program is the tip of the waste iceberg - there’s plenty more where that came from.”

Other examples of careless federal expenditures include:  $8 billion annually for 14 distinct literacy programs (which, perversely, receive more money as literacy drops); $699 million over five years for Milk Marketing Orders which inflate dairy prices for consumers; $100 million to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to study, among other things, soy and sour cherries for their ability to reduce cancer pain, and “guided imagery,” a form of storytelling in which people relax by imagining peaceful scenes, to children with asthma; $13.5 million for the East-West Center in Hawaii which sponsors workshops on topics ranging from community-based forestry to premarital sex, and holds a biannual international fair with music, dance, crafts and games; and millions to help AIDS sufferers that have instead funded Neiman Marcus shopping trips, calls to psychic hotlines, Disney tickets, luxury cars, jet skis, and maids. 

CAGW has chronicled $1.2 trillion over five years in bureaucratic waste, fraud, and mismanagement.  This year, in pork-barrel projects alone, Congress racked up $18.5 billion.

“President Bush deserves credit for attacking the waste status quo, and CAGW looks forward to helping the White House identify other ridiculous items to cut.  The president should consider cutting one wasteful program per month for the next three years,” Schatz concluded.  “There is no clearer way to signal taxpayers whose side you’re really on.”

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

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