|Cover art from CAGW's Waste Watch|
The Citizens Against Government Waste's name pretty much says it all. The fiscally conservative think tank hates pork and government waste, which apparently includes programs such as expanding health care to kids in low-income families, providing low-interest loans to college students, and requiring insurance companies to cover mental health issues. No-good, useless, evil, reckless waste like that.
In its annual ratings
, CAGW chose 48 bills from the House and 42 from the Senate for 2008 and rated every member of Congress on a scale of 0 to 100 percent, with a perfect 100 being a "Taxpayer Super Hero."
The House as a whole came away with a 35 percent ranking, with the Democratic members getting an average ranking of 6 percent, while Republicans got an average of 70 percent.
Rep. Nicholas Lampson of Texas was CAGW's favorite House Democrat, with a ranking of 39 percent. Which is actually higher or equal to South Florida's three Republican representatives.
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart got 38 percent for 2008, significantly down from his lifetime rating of 53 percent. His slightly more conservative younger brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, walked away with a 39 percent rating, still down from his lifetime average of 62 percent.
Meanwhile, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen scored 21 percent, down from her lifetime average of 54 percent. That's the second-lowest ranking of any Republican in the House. All three would be catagorized as "unfriendly" to taxpayers.
But they fare better than Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kendrick Meek, who rang up with a "Hostile" 2 percent. Only Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown, with 0 percent, scored lower in Florida. Four state Republicans received scores in the 90s.
In the Senate, now-retired Mel Martinez scored on the lower side of "Friendly," with a 62 percent rating for 2008, while Bill Nelson was "Hostile," with just 5 percent.