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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

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.

Salvage the Good from the Healthcare Debacle

The healthcare reform juggernaut, arguably the most radical attempt to remake the economy and the nation’s healthcare infrastructure in history, was supposed to have flown through Congress before the August recess with nary a peep.  Instead, as Americans have gotten wind of its alarming provisions and exorbitant costs, the plan appears to be fizzling fast in the summer heat.

Let the Sun Shine In on How The Government Spends Your Money

The nation just marked the six-month anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or the stimulus law, that Congress passed hurriedly in February.  Billions of our hard-earned tax dollars were injected into the ailing economy.  In that mad rush, we were told there wasn’t time to work out all the details.

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

On May 29, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released a Wastewatcher describing the current status of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that were released on May 12, 2009.  The purpose of the FOIA requests is to highlight whether or not money from the economic stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is going to benefit certain districts of members of Congress.

Beach Houses: Owned By the Rich, Paid For By Everyone

Washington’s next fiscal giveaway: a bailout for wealthy homeowners living along risky, hurricane-prone coastlines.  Attempting to find a solution to rising homeowners’ insurance rates, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on July 2, 2009 to discuss the Homeowners’ Defense Act as a possible solution.

Fahrenheit 451 Redux at the EPA

In legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, the government suppressed independent thought and analysis for the good of the people.  It was better to keep the populace ignorant of differing opinions than to challenge the status quo in the society described in that book.

Will Obama’s IGs Be Blood Hounds or Lap Dogs?

Federal statutes currently allow for 69 inspectors general (IG) at all cabinet departments, large agencies and other designated federal entities.  These offices are charged with overseeing how tax dollars are spent.  Since they are, in effect, “first responders” to potential waste, fraud, and mismanagement within the government, IGs are granted broad powers to ensure a level of independence over those they are auditing or investigating.


In 2005, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) put on a full court press to stop the implementation of the REAL ID Act.  After being attached to a supplemental appropriations bill and being voted on without hearings or any debate, REAL ID was going to be an expensive national ID card that would have put tax dollars and privacy at risk.  REAL ID was supposed to be implemented by the end of 2008.  Due to states opting out and logistical problems, that deadline has been pushed to the end of 2009, a date that is still impossible to meet.

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

On May 12, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) undertook an ambitious project to find out if members of Congress were trying to influence how the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka economic stimulus bill, were being spent.


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