That General Services Administration (GSA) scandal involving the parasite Jeff Neely, lounging with a glass of expensive wine in a Las Vegas premium hotel hot tub during a four-day Western regional office conference where $823,000 was spent on extravagant entertainment for just 300 employees, is the least of the damage according to new revelations.
“He was the tip of the iceberg," says Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. Mica’s committee is now looking into wasteful spending at as many as 77 other lavish GSA conferences in which the agency dumped taxpayer money with little or no record of the spending, no receipts, and no way to account for the cost associated with travel, while also doling out generous bonuses to their party guest employees.
A conference held in Crystal City, Va., for just one example, engaged in what was called a "team-building" exercise in which millions of dollars in taxpayer money was doled out to GSA employees. More than 3,700 employees received bonuses averaging about $1,000 each adding up to a whopping $3.6 million.
Another example involves about 100 high-ranking GSA employees assigned to work from home billing $750,000 on travel over only nine months, a fact which made even the infamous Jeff Neely blanch.
"OMG," Neely wrote in a 2011 e-mail to a regional commissioner who circulated a spreadsheet that included travel-reimbursement costs for virtual employees. "100 virtuals and most of them with some pretty serious grades… [W]ell this is a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into.”
”This will take your breath away. Don't share further," he warned his colleagues in another e-mail. The average reimbursement was $8,000 per virtual employee, according to the Oversight committee's initial findings.
"They tried to do everything they could to cover up the October 2010 Las Vegas fiasco. Now, we're hearing there are dozens more. We're going to drag in all the parties involved and get to the bottom of this scandal," Mica declared.
Stopping the avalanche of U.S. government spending is like sticking fingers into the holes of a crumbling dyke. Every agency, department, bureau, and office in the entire government is guilty of wasting huge sums of cash that doesn’t belong to them. It’s easy to spend other people’s money.
Just when something responsible is proposed to curb the spending, something equally irresponsible is done to keep the gravy train rolling. In Washington, for instance, a Senate panel has recently approved a $604 billion defense spending bill that reverses proposed Pentagon cuts in Air Force personnel and equipment.
The Appropriations defense subcommittee approved the bill by voice vote. It would provide $511 billion for the base military budget and $93.3 billion for the war in Afghanistan in the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2012. It also provides $800 million to halt the Air Force’s planned cuts.
Don’t count on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to stop the spending madness should they get elected in November. Ryan’s highly touted responsible budget plan is not exactly a ticket out of this mess. Under it, government spending increases almost every year over the next decade while tax and other revenue rises year after year. The 10-year deficit will still be $3 trillion.
Ryan’s proposed budget merely slows the rate of government growth will still allowing the budget to grow. His plan would grow government from $3.6 trillion this year to $4.9 trillion in 2022. Obama’s budget would be even worse, ballooning to $5.8 trillion in 2022. Instead of the $3.1 trillion long-term deficit under Ryan's plan, Obama's plan comes with a $6.7 trillion deficit.
So there will be plenty of taxpayer cash for GSA and all the other government agencies to waste in the future regardless of who is elected president.
We can count on that.
The GSA style gravy train will just keep rolling along.