The most recent scandal involving waste of taxpayers' money by federal bureaucrats probably came as no surprise to most people. But that is the problem: This sort of thing should be shocking. Sadly, government officials are so accustomed to living high off the hog on our money that many of them apparently don't see anything wrong with the practice.
Several high-level officials, including the head of the U.S. General Services Administration, resigned after a newspaper broke the story of a conference the GSA's Public Buildings Service staged in October 2010. It was held near Las Vegas and the tab for 300 people who spent five days there was $835,000. The event apparently required a $136,000 "pre-conference visit" by planners.
Commemorative coins and $3,700 worth of T-shirts were handed out. Just one of the treats at a cocktail reception (Boursin scalloped potato with Barolo wine-braised short ribs) cost $1,500.
There were $5,600 worth of in-room parties, a $3,200 session with a mind reader and a training exercise at which 24 bicycles were assembled - at a cost of $75,000. One official described the event as "over the top."
Again, the bureaucrats just don't seem to get it - or perhaps they do, and just think they can get away with it. In addition to the GSA head, her two deputies have been fired. But it is unlikely they had anything to do with the conference, except that it was on their watch. This sort of behavior will not end until those directly responsible find themselves unemployed.