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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

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.

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.

Bingo Terror

In October 2005, the Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming won a $36,300 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect bingo halls from terrorists.  The money will pay for laptop computers with access to a law-enforcement database.  Authorities are concerned that terrorists may attempt to raise large amounts of cash by  playing bingo or running a charitable game. 

"Buy America" Rips Off America

“Buy America” provisions have been insterted into legislation, especially defense bills, for many years.  Usually, such provisions are removed from the final version of the defense legislation.  That happened late last year, when Senate leaders and administration officials convinced House Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunger (R-Calif.) to drop the provision from the fiscal 2006 Defense Authorization Act, which was then signed into law by President Bush.  The Buy America clause would have blocked the Pentagon from buying military equipment from international companies that receive government subsidies.  The removal of this language constitutes a victory for taxpayers and national security.  More competition in Defense procurement can only result in better value for taxpayers and improved equipment for military personnel. 

Government Credit Cards and Hurricane Katrina

The damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina left no question that taxpayers would be paying a hefty bill for rescue and reconstruction.  In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, more than $39 million of that bill was paid for by federal employees with government credit cards.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will soon release the first comprehensive audit of Katrina-related emergency expenditures.  A December 27, 2005 Associated Press article provided a glimpse at what the report might include; namely, charges that were excessive or used for purposes other than Katrina relief.


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