Former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker, who is now CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, released April's "Myth of the Month" video, focusing on our tax system. Everyone talks about the need for our tax system to be fair. However, the debate often centers on whether the rich are paying their "fair share", or whether it's fair that a significant portion of Americans pay no income tax at all. There are actually two other elements of fairness that get lost in the rich vs. poor debate.
Charges against Dixon comptroller have 'awakened a sleepy little town' - chicagotribune.com: "The small northwest Illinois town of Dixon, stunned by charges against its chief financial officer of misappropriating about $30 million in city funds, has placed the employee on unpaid leave a day after her arrest in City Hall by FBI agents. Mayor James Burke made the announcement during a brief press conference at City Hall this morning attended by at least 75 residents and city employees. The mayor took no questions from reporters. Rita Crundwell, the city’s comptroller, was arrested Tuesday on a single count of wire fraud. Authorities alleged she stole city funds over the last six years to finance an extravagant lifestyle that included spending huge sums on her horse farms in Dixon and Beloit, Wis. as well as jewelry and a luxury motor home."
Six years? Glad somebody in Dixon finally "woke up."
America's Crisis of Character - WSJ.com: ". . . There is the General Services Administration scandal. An agency devoted to efficiency is outed as an agency of mindless bread-and-circuses indulgence. They had a four-day regional conference in Las Vegas, with clowns and mind readers.The reason the story is news, and actually upsetting, is not that a government agency wasted money. That is not news. The reason it's news is that the people involved thought what they were doing was funny, and appropriate. In the past, bureaucratic misuse of taxpayer money was quiet. You needed investigators to find it, trace it, expose it. Now it's a big public joke. They held an awards show. They sang songs about the perks of a government job: "Brand new computer and underground parking and a corner office. . . . Love to the taxpayer. . . . I'll never be under OIG investigation." At the show, the singer was made Commissioner for a Day. "The hotel would like to talk to you about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner's suite last night" the emcee said. It got a big laugh. On the "red carpet" leading into the event, GSA chief Jeffrey Neely said: "I am wearing an Armani." One worker said, "I have a talent for drinking Margarita. . . . It all began with the introduction of performance measures." That got a big laugh too. All the workers looked affluent, satisfied. Only a generation ago, earnest, tidy government bureaucrats were spoofed as drudges and drones. Not anymore. Now they're way cool. Immature, selfish and vain, but way cool. Their leaders didn't even pretend to have a sense of mission and responsibility. . . . "
"No matter how lavishly overpaid, civil servants everywhere are convinced they are horribly underpaid--but all public employees have larceny in their hearts or they wouldn't be feeding at the public trough."
I said it yesterday--the spending scandals are going to have "blowback" on the Obama campaign for re-election:
Scandals sidetrack Obama campaign - FT.com: "A salacious scandal involving US Secret Service agents cavorting with prostitutes in Colombia ahead of last week’s presidential visit has overshadowed Barack Obama’s efforts to build his re-election campaign. But more significantly, the scandal, which has run in parallel with revelations of overspending by the federal government’s property agency, is further corroding public respect for the country’s governing institutions. The daily parade of details of incompetence and impropriety among Washington agencies accentuates the findings of a Gallup poll last year which found an alarming loss of public faith over the last decade in US government institutions. . . . "
Here's the one thing no one in Washington seems to understand--working for the U.S. Government is analogous to working for an insolvent business. The Government is "broke." It hasn't had a budget passed by Congress since Obama became President. It is in fiscal crisis--expenditures exceed revenues by whopping figures-- and it pays normal, routine costs, by borrowing money (much of it "Chinese"). What's even worse, is that the debt is so out of control that the indebtedness being "run-up" won't be paid by the present generation, but by our children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren . . . .
But everyone, from Obama on down, lives in an "unreal" world. In the real world, any business in the same situation as the federal government would be taking actions to restore fiscal soundness. This administration has taken no such meaningful actions. Yes, to avoid a downward spiral in recessionary times, government spending should increase on "infrastructure"--at least infrastructure has long-term ROI. But the Obama administration spends money on "other things" like a drunken sailor--except a drunken sailor spends his own money whereas the federal government spends "other people's money"--taxpayers, Chinese, etc.
A day of reckoning is coming, in the meanwhile watch the "hogs at the trough:"
Panetta says he regrets cost of trips home - San Jose Mercury News: "Based on fuel and other operating expenses for his Air Force plane, the 27 trips have cost the government as much as $860,000. Typically Panetta flies on an Air Force C-37 — somewhat comparable to a Gulfstream jet . . . Panetta's two predecessors didn't make such frequent, long trips home. Robert Gates spent most weekends in the nation's capital, but traveled occasionally to his family home in Washington state. Donald H. Rumsfeld also lived in the D.C. area, but often spent weekends at his house in St. Michaels on Maryland's Eastern shore. . . . "
After the reports of the GSA Las Vegas scandal and the above, and the many, many other examples that abound in Washington, I have the following suggestion as an Obama campaign slogan--"Party like there's no tomorrow!" Indeed, after November 6, 2012, there may be no "tomorrow" for the Obama administration.
Video featuring Federal Employees jokes about never being under Inspector General Investigation, Lavish GSA Spending
The video clips above are from the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) October 2010 Western Region Conference in Las Vegas, NV. It was played on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at the "Capstone Dinner Event."
Obama better prepare, when I'm Commissioner. I'd have a road show like [Acting Regional GSA Administrator for Region Jeffrey] Neely, every time you see me rolling on 20s yeah, in my GOV. Spend BA 61 on all fun. ATF can't touch GS-15 guns! Cause I buy everything your field office can't afford. Every GS-5 would get a top hat award. Donate my vacation, love to the nation, I'll never be under OIG investigation.
E-mail Shreds Claim that Obama Administration’s April Maneuvers Were a Quick Response to Facts of GSA Las Vegas Scandal--
April 13, 2012
Top Obama Administration GSA Official Worried Last Summer about How Facts of Scandal would be Portrayed in the Media
The below e-mail shows the interaction of one Obama Administration political appointee to another back in July 2011 about a “letter of reprimand” to the organizer of the 2010 lavish GSA Las Vegas conference – the Obama Administration only put the individual, Jeff Neely, on paid administrative leave earlier this month when the public release of the Inspector General’s report of wasteful spending was imminent. In the email, Deputy Administrator Susan Brita, says the letter needs to be written in expectation of an eventual Washington Post story on the scandal.
E-mail obtained by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee:
From: Susan Brita
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 01:43 PM
To: Robert Peck
Cc: Stephen Leeds; David Foley
Subject: Re: Neely letter
Date: Fri Jul 08 2011 17:41:24 EDT
Bob [Peck]- according to the IG they didnt' find any agenda that would support comments about substance and important issues. Furthermore, expenses for a clown suit, bikes, tuxedos, and mind reader don't really lend themselves to a claim of a substantive conference. I think the letter to Jeff should be crafted with a WAPO mind frame. If this story of GSA (federal workers) spending "almost a million dollars" (and I have no doubt that is how the Post would report the event) at a time of high unemployment, and down economy were to hit the press what would public reaction by, what would congressional reaction be, and how would the agency respond (especially the political leadership). Jeff is a seasoned SES who is expected to display the highest standards of common sense, and prudent financial management. He did neither. Sorry, but your letter is not even a slap on the wrist.
GSA executive asserts right to remain silent – USATODAY.com: " . . . Inspector General Brian Miller made clear that he's not done investigating GSA current and former officials, following his lengthy report April 2 on an October 2010 Las Vegas conference that cost taxpayers $823,000. The regional executive who hosted the Western Regions Conference, Jeffrey Neely, invoked his Fifth Amendment rights . . . "We do have other ongoing investigations including all sorts of improprieties, including bribes . . . " Miller told the committee. He added later, "We have recommended criminal charges." . . . . Committee members from both parties could barely restrain themselves as they sometimes shouted their outrage over the spending. They not only raged on about the overall figure, but at specific taxpayer expenditures for a mind-reader, over-priced commemorative coins, bicycles for a team-building exercise and trips by GSA employees and their family members to the Las Vegas strip. Lawmakers said they couldn't understand why Johnson, the agency head who resigned after Miller's findings became public, waited for months to take action after receiving a preliminary report almost a year earlier. And demanded to know why Johnson granted Neely a $9,000 bonus after learning of the conference. . . . " For more information on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://oversight.house.gov