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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.




Proposed Merger Threatens Taxpayers and Launch Market

Ronald Reagan once said, “The ... inescapable truth is: government does not have all the answers.  In too many instances, government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them."

A Victory for the Defense Travel System

Since its initial creation in 1998, the Defense Travel System (DTS) has exhibited massive inefficiencies and waste.  The project, created by the Department of Defense (DOD), was meant to serve as a cost-efficient travel system for DOD employees.  The initial idea was to create an end-to-end electronic booking program.  Instead of paying a travel agent $25 per flight, booking online through DTS would cost each individual approximately $5.  According to DOD, the program was meant to save taxpayers $234 million in DOD travel costs, approximately $56 million annually.

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.

Working Group Wastes Our Time

The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group was created by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 to foster a “national discussion” on healthcare to be presented as a report and reviewed by the President and Congress in order to change healthcare policy in America.

Flying High: HHS Secretary Proves Pork Can Fly

Mike Leavitt’s got a ticket to ride, and he don’t care.  The Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary used a luxury private jet, leased by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention for use only in emergencies, to rack up $720,000, or 60 percent, of the $2.1 million the jet has cost taxpayers since January.

Swimming in Pork

House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) went off the deep end recently when he earmarked a whopping $1 million for a swimming pool in his district.  Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate act as the gatekeepers to the lucrative business of earmarks and, as chairman, Rep. Lewis holds noteworthy influence to tack on pet projects to bills in a way that is not subject to debate or oversight.

Grifters Give FEMA a Run for Their Money

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.  The report estimated that fraudulent payments totaled between $600 million and $1.4 billion.

Forest Party

Every year, South Carolina Forest Service employees participate in the All Employee Conference.  The three-day conference has become an all-inclusive vacation on the taxpayers’ dime.  Activities include arts and crafts, horseshoes, and senior bingo.

A Tale of Two Continents

America and Europe have two different visions of how to succeed in business. Europe does it without really trying, and America does it the old-fashioned way, by working hard and making higher quality and more desired products. This is particularly true in technology, which is one explanation for the European Commission’s (EC) ongoing crusade against Microsoft.

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.    

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