Sunday, 29 Sep 2013 08:58 AM
While Congress is working overtime to spent billions of dollars to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, federal agencies are on a freewheeling spending spree to burn through all of their money before the fiscal year ends Monday night.
The Washington Post reports that the Veterans Affairs Department spent more than a half million dollars for artwork, the Coast Guard spent nearly $200,000 on "cubicle furniture rehab," and the Agriculture Department spent $140,000 on toner cartridges in just one day.
The spending spree was prompted by fears that if an agency ends the fiscal year with money left in the bank, Congress might cut their funding in future years.
The outrageous expenses are not unusual, and are the subject of an ongoing congressional investigation.
In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service spent millions of dollars left over in an account to hire new personnel on an extravagant Las Vegas conference where the controversial "Star Trek" parody video featuring federal employees premiered.
Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, says the out-of-control spending by bureaucrats should be a key focal point of the ongoing debate to fund the government.
Fox News reported that federal agencies last week spent money on junkets for Chinese wine connoisseurs, Christmas tree initiatives, radio ads promoting New Jersey blueberries, a maple syrup recipe contest and produced a YouTube video to instruct on the proper handling of watermelons.
"Lost in the back and forth this week regarding whether or not to shut down the government over Obamacare was a real debate about all the other things that this bill will fund," Coburn said in a statement Friday.
After reading this how can any sane, intelligent person think that this government actually cares about the people? Anyone who doesn't know the truth is nothing but intentionally or unintentially blind and stupid. Okay, I got that off of my chest.
Some of what money was spent on was partially reasonable like stocking up on toner cartridges. At least they really do use toner and it will get used eventually. But Star Trek parody videos? Blueberry commercials? Maple Syprup contests? YouTube videos on how to handle watermelons? Unbelievable, and totally unacceptable. Couldn't they at least have spent the money on a video instructing people in disaster preparedness? Something actually important, I mean.
There's talk about the General Accounting Office (GAO), the organization that investigates government spending and answers only to Congress. HAH! That's a good one. That's like putting the mouse in charge of the cheese and when the cheese disappears you ask the mouse if he ate it and when he says no, you say okay, good enough for me. Case closed. Ludicrous.
I can think of one way to stop this waste. Agencies only do this so they won't come in under budget out of fear their funding may be cut the next year. There should be a law that if any government agency does come in under budget there will be a guarantee that their budget will NOT be cut the next year. If agencies know their budgets will not be cut, this crazy spending sprees may stop - especially if agencies are rewarded for coming in under budget rather the penalized.
But as they say, if it makes sense the government won't go for it.
I hate to keep sounding like a broken record but this system has got to go. In NS Germany every single government agency including the SS answered (financially) to the Reich Economics Office. There were severe penalties for wasting or misappropriating funds ranging from dismissal from office to execution depending on the circumstances. If these government spend-o-crats knew they could face a firing squad they'd think twice before pulling this kind of crap.