I could probably write a column a day about how our government spends/wastes taxpayers’ money.  But this latest story is even more outrageous because they’re actually trying to blame President Bush for the waste.

You’ve probably read that General Services Administration chief, Martha Johnson, recently resigned after the 2010 extravagant conference in Las Vegas which ended up costing the American taxpayer $840,000 came to light when a report from the GSA was published earlier this month.

According to the report, here are some of the lavish expenses that were incurred:

  • “$75,000 spent on a ‘team-building’ exercise, which was to build a total of 24 bicycles. Of note, the GSA sidestepped its own Federal Surplus Property Donation Program to get the bikes to the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
  • $6,325 spent on the commemorative ‘stimulus’ coins pictured on the front page, along with velvet boxes to hold the coins.
  • $31,028 spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages (there was a cash bar), or more than $100 per attendee, for a first-night reception where said commemorative “stimulus” coins were handed out.
  • $8,130 spent on ‘yearbooks’, $2,781.50 spent on canteens and carabiners, and $3,749.40 spent on shirts (the last for the ‘team-building’ exercise), all in violation of GSA policy against agency money being spent on ‘momentos’ of a conference.
  • The ‘Capstone Dinner’ on the last night of the conference was turned into a ‘Talent Award Showcase’ ceremony, complete with a red carpet, ‘so that federal funds could be spent for food’.”

If that’s isn’t enough to make your head spin, and instead of the Administration taking responsibility for this shameful use of tax dollars, it, once again, has tried to point the finger at the Bush administration.  Here’s how they’re trying to spin it:

“The cost of the Western Regional Conference increased sharply under the Bush White House — from $93,000 in 2004 to $323,855 in 2006 to $655,025 in 2008, then $840,616 in 2010, or just 28 percent under Obama.”

So that’s supposed to make it alright?  It’s outrageous that $93,000 was spent in 2004, $323,855 in 2006 and $655,025 in 2008.  In these economic times, why are these conferences even taking place even if only every two years?  Are they absolutely mandatory (I doubt it)?  What exactly is accomplished at them anyway?

I’m not sure what it will take for voters to realize that we just can’t continue to keep hemorrhaging money like we’re doing.  It’s got to stop and this Administration doesn’t seem at all interested in putting the brakes on any of this waste.