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.




The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment

The federal government’s continuing prosecution of medical marijuana patients undermines federalism and fiscal restraint.  For the fourth year in a row, the House will vote on an amendment sponsored by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).  The amendment would prohibit the federal government from arresting users of medical marijuana in states where it has been deemed legal.  The amendment does not prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting individuals using marijuana for a recreational purpose or individuals using marijuana for medicinal purposes in states where it is still considered illegal.    

The Invasive Nature of “Net Neutrality”

The world has seen an incredible increase in computer and Internet capabilities over the last decade.  This expansion has been spurred by the capitalist principles of competition.  The dynamism of the Internet is now being threatened by politicians who want to regulate it.  If implemented, regulation will stifle competition, raise consumer costs, and hinder high-speed Internet deployment and innovation.

Iowa Nonprofit is Latest Earmark Outrage

The Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium (CIETC) is a nonprofit organization that provides job-training services for the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) program.  As extensively reported by The Des Moines Register, the group’s top three executives were recently fired after a state audit found that they collected a combined $1.8 million in salaries over 30 months.  Congressional earmarks and breakdown of oversight allowed a cadre of greedy schemers to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.

Waste on a Plane

Any traveler would prefer champagne, fine dining, and ample leg room on their next plane flight.  However, most people either cannot afford a premium class ticket or deem it not worth the extra expense.  Charging the tickets to the government has a way of changing the equation.  An April 2006 Government Accountability Office report revealed how some public servants are traveling like rock stars at the taxpayers’ expense. 

Taxpayers Get Railroaded

In an emergency supplemental appropriations bill designed to provide $92 billion for the war on terror and hurricane relief, Mississippi Senators Trent Lott (R) and Thad Cochran (R) added $700 million to relocate newly repaired railroad tracks.  The costly pork barrel project has been jammed into an already bloated bill which currently sits at $106.5 billion, or $14.5 billion above the $92 billion version passed by the House last month, which met the President’s request.

The CVC - Not a Capitol Idea

With 580,000 square feet, three underground stories, and space three-quarters the size of the Capitol itself, the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) is a monument to Congress’s own excess.  It was recently announced that the project is experiencing yet another cost increase and construction delay.  On February 15, an official from the Government Accountability Office testified that the cost of the CVC will reach $584 million, 120 percent more than the original estimate.  Originally scheduled for completion in time for the 2005 presidential inauguration, the Architect of the Capitol (AoC) has esti

Congress Not Seeing Drug War Waste

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was established in 1988 to develop and coordinate policies and objectives to decrease illegal drug use, manufacturing, trafficking, drug-related crime and

Mrs. Bush, too, Loves the Earmarks

It’s funny how sometimes we just disregard the Constitution and the specific powers it gives to each branch of the federal government. I learned as well as many others in the ninth grade that the power of the purse is given to the Congress, so the citizens have some influence and comments on how their tax dollars were going to be spent. Funny how that never really worked out since there are so many projects funded through earmarks.

Taxpayers Get Charged Overtime

In March 2005, The Record revealed that more than 100 retired police officers with the New York Port Authority (PA) are getting at least $100,000 a year in pensions.  Because many senior PA cops were logging long hours of overtime, and because overtime is included in pension calculations, retirees are receiving up to double the pay they made in a normal working year.  At least 25 other PA retirees are getting pensions in excess of $100,000 as well.

The Wal-Mart Bill

In January, the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Bob Ehrlich’s veto of the Fair Share Act.  The legislation requires all businesses in the state of Maryland with 10,000 or more employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on employee health benefits or pay the difference in a tax.  Although there are several large employers in the state, the bill only affects Wal-Mart.  In reality, this law has nothing to do with providing health insurance.  It represents the continuing effort of labor unions and their allies to demonize and punish successful, non-unionized companies.  A similar bill was passed in Suffolk County, New York that affects large, non-unionized grocery stores.

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