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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 blog@cagw.org.




California’s $7 Billion Bailout?

When Congress debates California’s requested $7 billion bailout, instead of looking at the benefits it could bring California, they first need to look at the source of the problem and understand the reasons why the state is in such trouble.  Citizens and business owners in California are outraged that the state government continues to raise taxes while refusing to eliminate wasteful spending.

Stimulating the Dead

When the federal government decided to spend $787 billion to stimulate the economy in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), most Americans understood, contrary to most of the tough talk about accountability and transparency, that a percentage of these funds would be wasted.  To try and assuage these fears, Congress and Obama Administration declared that the stimulus money would be focused on “shovel ready” projects.

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.

Obama’s $106 Billion War Supplemental

On April 9, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a summary of the administration’s proposed fiscal year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act, stating that it “is the last planned war supplemental.”  In the bill, President Obama sought $83.4 billion to fund “ongoing military, diplomatic, and intelligence operations.”  The OMB release stated that “the President will not tolerate it being turning into a vehicle for political projects.  He has made it very clear to Congress that he will not accept any earmarks in the bill – and he will not tolerate the bill being loaded up with unrelated items.  The era of irresponsibility is ending."

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.

Public vs. Private: May the Best Contractor Win

The government should not compete with its citizens; it should rely on the private sector for commercially-available goods and services.  This is a common-sense idea: allow individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurial companies to contract with the government, instead of creating duplicative and expensive government-run agencies and programs.

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.

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.

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