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.




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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Weatherization Assistance Program – A Perfect Storm of Potential Waste?

President Obama’s $787 billion so-called “stimulus” bill, formally known as the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will have reverberations throughout the economy for years to come.  The contained a wide range of new government spending programs as well as dramatic increases in existing programs, some of which had previously been funded with relatively small budgets. 

Taking Taxpayers for a Ride

Most Americans have a favorite train story.  When my parents took my brother, sister and me out West in 1966, we took the overnight train from Denver to Salt Lake City.  We were awed by the beautiful scenery from the dome cars, ate well, slept comfortably, and enjoyed every minute of the trip.

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.

The First Cut Is The Lamest, Not The Deepest

In February, President Obama introduced a $3.69 trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year, a proposal that would, according the Heritage Foundation, increase spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years, lead to a 12 percent increase in discretionary spending, and leave permanent deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers.  In a peace offering to get some political cover for this explosion of spending, President Obama called for his cabinet to make $100 million worth of spending cuts.  

Obama’s Earmark Reform? ShamWow!

On March 11, 2009 President Obama signed the fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, which contained the nine remaining 2009 spending bills worth $410 billion.  After making dizzying campaign promises to eliminate congressional earmarking once he won the Oval Office, the President, out of the sight of the media, signed a bill containing thousands earmarks and schooled taxpayers on his new and revised view of earmarks.

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