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.




Congress Plans to Tap Medicare to Pay for Healthcare Reform

The Senate Finance Committee has reported out S. 1796, its version of a health care reform bill.  This was preceded, and indeed made possible, by an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that the bill would increase federal government spending by only $829 billion in 2010-2019.  With new taxes and reductions in projected spending in Medicare and Medicaid, CBO said this would actually result in a net saving to the federal budget of $81 billion over this period.  The bill’s advocates greeted this estimate with relief, tinged with self-congratulation for having produced a bill that, in the current environment, was considered by them to be fiscally responsible.

Medicare is Afflicted with Chronic Wasting Disease, and its Catchy

All of the healthcare reform bills currently under consideration depend, to a significant degree, upon eradicating waste and abuse from Medicare in order to offset the costs of the new coverage package.  Squeezing waste out of Medicare is a laudable goal and an aggressive waste eradication campaign could yield savings of $40 to $50 billion annually (conservatively), or 10 percent, a much higher percentage of fraud than exists in private healthcare systems.  Unfortunately, it is a pipedream.  Administrations and Congresses going back decades have tried, and failed miserably, to eliminate the waste. 

If It Ain’t Broke, Why “Neutralize” It?

On September 21, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed new rules for broadband providers.  The so-called “net neutrality” policy is anything but neutral; it would allow for government regulation and intervention in the broadband industry and would prevent wireless companies from managing traffic on the Internet.

U.S. to File Concerns Over Google Book Pact

The Justice Department is expected Friday to outline a range of concerns it has about a settlement that Google Inc. struck with authors and publishers over the rights to distribute digital copies of certain works, according to people familiar with the matter.

Restricting Sugar Imports, Hidden Tax Increases, and Just Plain Waste

The antiquated U.S. sugar program continues to cause trouble for American companies, consumers and taxpayers.  While supporters of the program have always tried to claim that it doesn’t cost taxpayers any money, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the highly restrictive import quota already costs U.S. consumers as much as $1.9 billion annually, which is nothing more than a sugar consumer tax.

End Deficit Spending

With a turnout estimated at hundreds of thousands of people, the Taxpayer March in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2009 demonstrated the public’s support for restraining government spending.  In order to understand the motivation of the protesters, one only needs to look at the current fiscal condition of the country.

Debt Watch

Most mundane procedural actions by Congress are not worthy of a headline or even a WasteWatcher article, but the raising of the debt ceiling will surely cause taxpayers to howl.

Budget Gimmicks Hide the True Costs of Obamacare –

There is a lot of discussion of how much the Obama healthcare plan will cost the federal government.  The House bill, if passed, will spend more than $1 trillion over 10 years and the Senate bill would spend more than $800 billion over 10 years.  This spending will be paid for with a lot of higher taxes. 

The Devil is in the Details of the Healthcare Bills, Or Not

President Obama and congressional Democrats have been playing defense on healthcare reform throughout the month of August as congressional town hall meetings across the country have erupted in anger and frustration.  A favorite theme in the President’s and his allies’ speeches is that Americans have been manipulated and exploited by opponents of his healthcare initiatives, jack-booted obstructionists who are peddling falsehoods about what is actually in the bills.

OMB Plays Three Card Monte With Deficit Numbers

As a rite of August when the nation’s capital moves slowly, official Washington plays an interesting game of re-estimating the budget deficit.  It is known as the Mid-Session Budget Review and both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) take part.  While both review the state of the federal budget and outlook for projected deficits over the next 10 years, they issue very different reports.

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