One of my first blog posts, way back in 2009, was about bureaucrats from the Social Security Administration squandering more than $700,000 on a boondoggle conference at a fancy Arizona resort.
To pick a more recent example, taxpayers have plenty of reasons to be upset about IRS bureaucrats partying at their fancy conferences (including line dances, the real message of which is captured by this Lisa Benson cartoon).
The General Services Administration, meanwhile, had a good time on our dime at a posh confab in Las Vegas.
So did revelations about all this waste cause programs, agencies, and departments to be more careful with our tax money? As you can imagine, the answer is a big fat no.
The latest scandal to be unearthed is that “public servants” from a bunch of government agencies have been enjoying fun times in the Caribbean. Here are some excerpts from a Washington Times expose.
A group of federal officials skipped chilly Washington this month for a taxpayer-funded trip to the Virgin Islands in the name of protecting the world’s coral reef. The organizer, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, isn’t saying much about the total cost or reasons for the trip or why officials chose the St. Croix beachfront resort Buccaneer Hotel (made famous by an episode of TV’s “The Bachelor”) as their destination. But life couldn’t have been too bad for the G-men and G-women at the swanky resort, which is surrounded by a lush green golf course and boasts rooms with rates that begin at $323 a night. …topped off with a $74 meal per diem. …In addition to the room rates and food per diems, the various departments were also responsible for providing airfare for attendees. A quick search of travel websites shows that flights from Washington to St. Croix, where the meeting was held, range from $500 to $1,000.
So what was the total cost of this boondoggle? Well, we have no idea.
And this doesn’t even count the fact that many of the bureaucrats got to party at another sun-and-fun conference!
With 11 agencies involved in funding and support for the coral reef task force, it can be difficult to track down just how much is being spent and by whom. Spending records are spread across multiple agencies, with no single record of just how much these meeting might be costing taxpayers. An Interior Department representative said the task force meeting was held in conjunction with a meeting of the Caribbean Regional Planning Body, and many people participated in both.
So let’s think about big picture of what this means for taxpayers.
We know bureaucrats are overpaid.
We know they work fewer hours.
We even know bureaucrats admit to being lazy!
But the real insult to injury is when they get to do fun things at our expense.
P.S. By coincidence, I happen to be in Antigua while doing this post. I’m a big fan of the Caribbean, so it doesn’t bother me for people to go where there is warm sunshine. I just don’t want them taking trips at my expense.
P.P.S. I’m happy to report that I wasn’t detained at the airport, which happened on my last trip to Antigua.
P.P.P.S. My friend has a real (but non-operable) cannon mounted on one of his terraces. I think I read someplace that it’s legal to own a cannon in the United States, which is part of what makes America a great country. Heck, we’re allowed to own tanks, which is even cooler.