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.




British Expense Scandal Should be Lesson for U.S. Lawmakers

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) in Great Britain was founded in 2004 by Andrew Allum, Matthew Elliott and Florence Heath to “represent taxpayers and to fight for lower taxes.”  Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has been working with the organization on a wide variety of issues, including more transparency in government for British taxpayers.

Healthcare Reform: A Pricey Prescription

President Obama promised this would be the year of health care reform, but many are bracing for what this “reform” could really mean.  After much anticipation, Democrats have started to unveil their healthcare reform plans, revealing new policy proposals that would, among other things, expand Medicaid, impose individual and employer mandates, enlarge the almost bankrupt Medicare program, create a new government-run healthcare plan, and cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years.  The overall result will inevitably be higher taxes, less patient choice, and ultimately, rationing of care.

A “Generic” Call for Change

As Congress braces for the largest reform of healthcare in the nation’s history, lost in the debate has been an issue critical to federal and state healthcare budgets, as well as the ability of consumers to afford lifesaving drugs.  The issue is whether Congress should grant generic makers of the next generation of medications called “biologics” the same regulatory approval treatment it did for chemical drugs under the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act.

Stimulus not Stimulating

The White House announcement on May 20 of 100 projects in 100 days of the stimulus, a plan that was intended to be “timely, temporary, and targeted,” was greeted with great skepticism, including an ongoing dispute about the amount of money that has been spent and how many jobs have (or have not) been created.

Waxman and Markey Attempt to Go Green, But Put Taxpayers in the Red

On May 21, 2009, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), which was co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Energy and the Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.).  Among other environmental regulations, the legislation calls for the implementation of a burdensome cap-and-trade system.  This byzantine system proposes that the government grant tradable allowances for each ton of pollution emitted into the atmosphere to such entities as electric utilities, oil companies, and large industrial sources.  The program decreases the number of available allowances issued each year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on 2005 levels by 3 percent in 2012, 17 percent in 2020, 42 percent in 2030, and 83 percent in 2050.

Blue Dogs and PAYGO – Living in La La Land

On April 28, 2009, members of the so-called fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Coalition introduced H.R. 2116, the “Fiscal Honesty and Accountability Act of 2009.”  According to their website, the measure “would strengthen Congress’ commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability by reinstituting statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules.  The legislation, which would require both the House and Senate to abide by PAYGO rules if enacted into law, has been a cornerstone of the Blue Dogs’ efforts to restore fiscal discipline to the federal government.” 

CAGW’s FOIA Project

On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed an economic “stimulus” bill, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  More than $787 billion is slated to be spent through ARRA to help revive the economy.

Medicare/Social Security Insolvency

While the Obama Administration ratchets up support for government-run healthcare, which would be a new entitlement program, the government trustees who monitor the nation’s two largest entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security, have reported that they are both less than a decade away from insolvency. 

Don’t Ground the Presidential Helicopter Program

The presidential helicopter has always provided the media with a picturesque backdrop for the president.  One of the most famous images is President Nixon waving goodbye to the White House for the last time on August 9, 1974 from the top step of the helicopter.

Energy Battle Heats Up

Americans are feeling some relief from the drop in gas prices, which were more than $4.00 per gallon last summer and now hover around $2.25 per gallon.  After expectations that winter home heating costs would rise dramatically above the prior year, they rose less than predicted.  Some argue there is an “energy dividend” that is helping the economy by putting more money into consumers’ wallets.

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