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 Dangers of Single-Payer Healthcare

CAGW’s June 2017 Porker of the Month was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who earned the “honor” in part due to his outspoken and unwavering support of the single-payer healthcare system.  Sen. Sanders touts the system as the “morally principled” option; in reality, it would create long waiting times, cause a massive increase in taxes, and allow bureaucrats in Washington to make decisions that ought to be made between doctors and patients.  

Vacant VA Buildings Cost Taxpayers Millions

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has gone through many trials and travails over the past several years.  A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) exposed another aspect of the department that enables waste and mismanagement.

FCC Chairman Takes Action to Fix Lifeline

It is mind-boggling when the government continues to squander money on a program that has been on the front line of wasteful spending, and program abuse.  Yet, that is exactly what the Universal Service Fund (USF) continues to do with through Low-Income Support program, which provides subsidies to low-income households for telephone and broadband service.

The 21st AIRR Act Takes Off

On June 22, 2017, House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act.  The legislation will provide for a six-year reauthorization and significant reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

ATC Privatization Would Bring U.S. Airport Industry to New Heights

On June 5, 2017 President Donald Trump announced his proposal to privatize the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system as part of a broader plan to drastically improve American infrastructure. Approximately 932 million Americans took to the sky in 2016, more than the air traffic of China, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined.   The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is already charged with overseeing the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport, and the fourth-busiest, Los Angeles International Airport.

The FDA Should Pave the Way to Tobacco Harm Reduction

Passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in June 2009 gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory control over tobacco products.  The purpose of the TCA, as stated in the bill’s report language, was to permit the FDA “to restrict the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including advertising and promotion” and to “take specified actions, including public notification and recall, against unreasonably harmful products.”  The law also required the FDA “to establish tobacco product standards to protect the public health” but prohibited the agency from "banning all cigarettes, all smokeless tobacco products, all little cigars, all cigars other than little cigars, all pipe tobacco, or all roll-your-own tobacco products," or "requiring the reduction of nicotine yields of a tobacco product to zero."  Notably, the law also set forth standards for the sale of "modified-risk tobacco products.”

The Cuba Embargo: A Personal Observation

In June, 2017, representatives from a handful of right-leaning organizations, including Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), participated in a “people-to-people” delegation to Cuba.  The “educational outreach” trip was arranged by Engage Cuba, “the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba,” in conjunction with Cuba Educational Travel (CET).  Based in Naragansett, Rhode Island, CET is the tour facilitator that has been awarded the necessary licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control “to organize trips to Cuba in full compliance with rules and regulations governing travel to Cuba by individuals under U.S. jurisdiction.”

Wasteful Spending by Hospitals Increased Under Obamacare

In 1998, Citizens Against Government Waste releasedAre You Getting Your Money’s Worth from Nonprofit Hospitals?which analyzed the level of charity care nonprofit hospitals were providing to their local communities as a requirement under their tax exemptions.  The report found that for-profit and nonprofit hospitals are not much different in terms of the charity they provide to their respective communities.  The only difference is that taxpayers are subsidizing the nonprofits.

USPS: Carrying Water (Not Mail) for Secretary Clinton

On July 19, 2017, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) held a hearing titled, “The Postal Service’s Actions During the 2016 Campaign Season:  Implications for the Hatch Act.”  During testimony from both the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), it was revealed that the USPS violated federal law, the Hatch Act, during the 2016 campaign cycle.

They Were for It Before They Were Against It

Healthcare reform is not going well for the Republicans, even though they have called for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, since the legislation was signed into law in 2010.  Republicans have had seven years to write, debate, and agree to a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something.  They promised to repeal ACA for every election since 2010 and as a result, retook the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency.

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