"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monthly Email from the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)

The emails sent out by CAGW naming the Porker of the Month are reminiscent of the Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) Golden Fleece Award he started in 1979 that he presented to those public officials in the United States whom the judges felt wasted the most public money.  It was stopped in 1988 and was revived by the Advisory Board of the centrist Taxpayers for Common Sense in 2000.  Looked forward to the monthly award of the Golden Fleece by Proxmire in the 80's just as I look forward to the CAGW's Porker of the Month today.

Highlighting Government Waste is needed more now than ever with Obama in the White House.  The CAGW stands on the front lines in that fight to out Government Waste.  In fact since Obama has been President with his liberal agenda and spending tax dollars like it grows on trees, their job has become much larger.

Founded in 1984 by the late businessman J. Peter Grace and late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jack Anderson, CAGW is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that grew out of the President’s (Reagan) Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission.

CAGW researches go over every bill in detail looking for Government Waste.  They go after both sides in the fight to out Government Waste.  Here is an excerpt from a March 24, 2011, letter to The Senate on behalf of the Coburn Ethanol bill:
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently introduced S. 520, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) Repeal Act, to repeal the $0.45 per gallon subsidy to blenders of ethanol. On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I urge you to support this important legislation.
Thought with all the talk about the debt ceiling and no budget from the Senate Democrats once again, we would bring you their monthly email to show there is an organization keeping track of Government Waste.  Encourage everyone to become part of the CAGW effort so they can stay informed about what is going on in Washington by signing up for their E-mail List.  You can also become a member by donating to CAGW.   This organization is on the front lines of actually discovering government waste not just going to the nearest microphone to talk about what someone else has found -- they find the waste.  

The Porker of the Month has become legendary over the years as the Porker has some of the most ludicrous reasons to support their bill.  This month is no different:

Porker of the Month: Rep. Edward Markey
http://membership.cagw.org/site/R?i=kzwAGe7uVOEOxJoBmmnSHw..Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) Porker of the Month for accusing proponents of federal spending cuts of indifference toward potential victims of weather emergencies. According to Rep. Markey, reducing expenditures for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – which contains the National Weather Service (NWS) – “will lengthen the time it takes to alert our citizens about an incoming storm, or reduce our ability to give our nation’s farmers the information they need to manage their crops…Yet these kinds of vital capabilities don’t seem to matter to House Republicans.” 
Contrary to Rep. Markey’s accusations, spending at NOAA is greater than ever. Its budget is slated to reach $5.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, an increase of 46 percent since 2002. Moreover, private organizations have been performing many of the functions of NOAA and NWS for decades. Companies like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel disseminate vital weather information on the Internet, television, and radio 24 hours a day. CAGW President Tom Schatz commented, “Rep. Markey, like many supporters of ever-expanding government spending, is under the impression that every federal outlay is essential. Just as reductions to the National Park Service budget will not automatically cause Abraham Lincoln’s stone likeness in South Dakota to crumble, cuts to NOAA will not abruptly put Americans unwittingly in the path of a tornado or tsunami.” For insinuating that politicians and citizens keen to prevent a fiscal disaster are guilty of apathy toward weather disaster victims, Rep. Markey is the July, 2011 Porker of the Month. 
Read more about the Porker of the Month.
Figured a few House and Senate members would slip in some earmarks which are banned.  Easier than writing a bill that would be scrutinized but CAGW discovered them.  You don't get much past the CAGW as they go over the budgets with a fine tooth comb.  Maybe that is why the Democrats don't want to do a budget as the CAGW will discover the real truth in their budget as they do in those of the House.
CAGW Uncovers Banned Earmarks in Appropriations Bills

CAGW’s preliminary analysis this month of the House version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Act and the Senate version of the FY 2012 Military Construction Appropriations Act revealed that both chambers of Congress continue to try to circumvent the earmark moratorium. 

The House bill contains seven earmarks costing taxpayers $56.8 million, including $40 million for Boll Weevil eradication. However, the number of pork-barrel projects in the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill fell by 96 percent compared to FY 2011, and their cost dropped by 61 percent. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee also refrained from funding many infamous earmarks from years past, including wood utilization research, which had received $100 million since 1985, and shrimp aquaculture research, which had received $74.5 million since 1985. 

The Senate bill displays even greater self-control by senators, who in the past have larded the military construction and veterans affairs funding provision with dozens of earmarks for items such as chapels and fitness facilities. Nonetheless, the two earmarks CAGW discovered – $10 million for the Energy Conservation Investment Program and $6.4 million for the Whitelaw Wedge Building Addition at Fort Gordon in Georgia – are two too many. CAGW President Tom Schatz responded, “With a ballooning deficit and struggling economy, Congress should be scrutinizing every taxpayer dollar being spent instead of attempting to circumvent the current earmark moratorium.” 

Read more about the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Act and the House Agriculture Appropriations Act.
Then we have this about Unemployment:
From "The Swine Line"

$17 Billion Swindle Undercuts Claims of Fiscal Responsibility

As President Obama’s failing economic policies force more and more Americans into accepting unemployment benefits, fraud and overpayments in unemployment disbursements have become disturbingly common, notes CAGW Intern Christopher Ryan. USA Today observed on July 3 that fraudulent unemployment disbursements totaled $17 billion in 2010, more than double the $7.1 billion in unemployment overpayments in 2009. The $17 billion swindle in 2010 is particularly disheartening because it came after President Obama’s November, 2009 executive order to curtail waste, fraud, and abuse. Though no further evidence is required to show that the President’s 2009 order was ineffective, the fact that he felt it necessary to issue another executive order to cut waste just last month underscores how impotent the Obama Administration’s efforts to address government waste have been, concludes Ryan. Read more about the $17 billion in unemployment overpayments.
Next Up:  Homeland Security which is no shock with such a large organization headed by the person who fell asleep at the President's State of the Union, Janet Napolitano, who is asleep at the wheel most of the time at Homeland Security as she never sees or hears anything wrong.
Homeland Security to Spend $300 Million on Dubious Technology 
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is showing a shocking lack of fiscal responsibility and disregard for taxpayers in planning to spend $300 million on problematic radiation detection equipment, opines CAGW Intern Jacqueline Carlton. The radiation equipment in question is the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP), a machine created to prevent a possible nuclear attack by detecting radiological materials in cargo containers. 
Current radiation detection machines are limited in their ability to distinguish between harmless and dangerous radiological materials, and DHS is developing the ASP program to improve detection. However, a report released by the Government Accountability Office in March, 2011 found that DHS had not provided evidence that ASP machines are as effective as current machines. Congress has also found no proof that ASP machines have enhanced capability in detecting dangerous radiological materials. Responding to doubts about the program, DHS officials announced plans to downsize the ASP project in February, 2010. However, The Washington Post reported on July 14 that DHS officials are now planning to use the machines as secondary screening equipment and “between 300 and 400 ASP systems are required to complete the currently planned build-out.” 
Read more about DHS’s plans to continue spending taxpayer money on unproven technology.
Looking forward to seeing what the CAGW comes up with if the Senate ever gets around to doing a budget -- that should be very enlightening.

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