Thursday, April 19, 2012

Government Waste

So the GSA has become the poster child for government waste at the moment. I think the Secret Service should be thanking them for this since it's taken some of the coverage away from them. There is no question that the $823,000 that was spent on this Vegas trip seems like a total waste, but what I really wonder is what is the investigation and congressional hearing costing us to expose it?

Congress has the right and the authority to investigate, and when they suspect fraud or other waste they certainly should. But let's add a little perspective to all this. The Senate just rejected the "Buffett Rule" because some argued that the 46.7 billion it would add in income over ten years just wasn't that much money.

They are holding hearings over $823,000 to show the stupidity of some bureaucrat, who will, and probably should, be fired, but are rejecting 46.7 billion as not being enough to be concerned about. I also seem to remember that in the bailout of wall street than many of the people who led us down that disaster each received bonuses well in excess of $823,000. But then there was nothing we could do because they had contracts, which of course we "had to honor." We don't have to honor contracts we make with others, like school teachers, but wall street crooks have to be protected.

And let's not forget about the 6.6 billion that simply disappeared in Iraq. No one has any idea where the money is, although in their final report the special inspector general said that it appeared this money was stolen, not just an "accounting error." I've done a lot of bookkeeping. Forgetting to put in a $20 ATM withdrawl is an accounting error, misplacing 6.6 billion is never just an accounting error. There are way to many zeros to simply be an error.

The report goes on to say that this may be "the largest theft of funds in national history." I know Congress held hearings on this too, but apparently these weren't as interesting, or maybe didn't go on as long, because I certainly don't remember this much coverage or outrage. Again, $823,000 versus 6.6 billion, the math just doesn't add up.

It appears to me that this, like so many other things, is simply politicking in an election year. I am all for stopping ridiculous and wasteful spending, but the GSA is not the only group doing this. Their frivolous expenditures are not the reason we are where we are today, but holding public inquiries simply to say you did something, or just to get your face on TV so you can say it looked like you were doing something, seems to me to be throwing bad money after bad money.

As I said, I don't know what it cost to hold this hearing, but I would strongly suspect that it is probably at least 6 figures. Go figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment