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

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.

Income Share Agreements: Venture Capital for College Students

To get the gist of an “income share agreement” (ISA), look no further than the title of Kim Clark’s November 16, 2016 article in Money magazine:  “Now You Can Sell Shares in Yourself to Pay for College.” 

NFL Hits the Taxpayer-Funding Jackpot in Vegas

Las Vegas has long been known as “Sin City,” and it will soon be home to one of the worst fiscal sins of all time.  On October 14, 2016, the Nevada state legislature approved the largest taxpayer subsidy in American sports history.  As long as the NFL allowed the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, taxpayers would fork over $750 million to help fund a new $1.9 billion stadium adjacent to the Vegas strip.  On March 27, 2017, NFL owners did just that, approving the move by a vote of 31-1.

A Dopey Policy

Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia allow either medical and/or recreational marijuana.  The January 23, 2017 edition of Westword reported that 11 additional states are considering legalizing recreational marijuana this year.

Step Back, Doors Closing: D.C.’s Subway Debacle

For anyone familiar with the subway system in Washington, D.C., the warning, “step back, doors closing,” alerts riders to the dangers of trying to beat the trains’ automatic doors, which are not as forgiving as those on elevators.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), known as “Metro” to Washingtonians, first ran its trains in 1976.  It started out positively, but the system has fallen from grace after years of poor service and intermittent reliability, not to mention several fatal incidents, and riders are leaving the service at increasing rates.


The need to modernize federal information technology (IT) is being taken seriously by the Trump administration.  One of the President’s early White House appointments was for Reed Cordish to become Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives.  He has also created the White House Office of Innovation, headed by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and has met with more than 100 business leaders and government officials to discuss issues related to technology. 

Maryland's Boondoggle Inn

In July 2016, Frederick County (Maryland) Executive Jan Gardner introduced a bill that would increase the county’s hotel tax from 3 percent to 5 percent.  Despite denials from Gardner, State Senator Ron Young (D-District 3), State Delegate Karen Young (D-District 3), and State Delegate Carol Crimm (D-District 3) that the new tax revenue will not be used to fund certain aspects of a planned $84 million Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center, that does not appear to true.  Part of the revenue generated from the hotel tax hike will pay down the $3.5 million in debt payments for the conference center over the course of a 25-year contract.


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