Thursday, April 05, 2012
Just in time for an election year, the federal government is relabeling its
boondoggles "conferences" to deceive the people who are paying for them:
Washington’s newest dirty word is “conference.”Euphamistic scoundrels, that's what they are! Regardless, being a corporate tool of at least middling stature, I get many invitations to go to conferences to hear notables flap their gums, rub elbows with my betters, and stay in nice hotels. Working as I do in the actually productive sector of the economy, I almost never see events that will return as much for our stockholders as I hope I do in my day job, just putting my nose to the old grindstone. Somehow, I suspect our government's employees rarely bother to think in those terms.
Thanks to the clowning and magic tricks by the General Services Administration at a posh Las Vegas resort (the one that led to the resignation this week of the agency’s chief and two of her top deputies and the ouster — “administrative leave” — of four officials involved in planning the ritzy event) the word may now be verboten among the agencies.
On Wednesday, for example, the Department of Homeland Security boasted of its successful “2012 National Fusion Center Training Event.” A “training event” sounds like serious business. Not to be confused with a “conference,” which, thanks to the GSA, now conjures up images of conga lines and taxpayer-funded decadence.
Funny, though, that the very same DHS event held last year was billed as the “National Fusion Center Conference.”
I wonder where the 2012 National Fusion Center Training Event/Conference/Is That What the Kids Are Calling It These Days got its funding.
Perhaps from here:
These public servants sought to earn credit with their agency by collecting money. Some of it is returned to the agency – like justices of the peace whose pay is derived directly from the fines they impose.
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show had a riff on this. One theme was that the GSA spent nearly a million in Vegas without a dime on hookers and blow – only clowns and silly trinkets. Also, the GSA is the part of the Feds that’s supposed to rein in stupid spending.
Meanwhile, we spend $1 million a year flying Leon Panetta home each weekend. Some pigs are even more equal.
"Somehow, I suspect our government's employees rarely bother to think in those terms." I am a government employee and believe we almost never think in those terms. The problem is that government can't operate efficiently. It's the nature of the beast. Because government spends someone else's money there's no motivation to care for it, or to worry about results. The government "caretakers" of our money are far more focused on keeping out of trouble with the press than they are focused on practical success.