Let Caesar Spend his Money How He Sees Fit

To paraphrase a passage from the Christian bible, render on to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Over the past couple weeks, news has been coming out about a conference in Las Vegas where the General Services Administration spent approximately $822,000 to house and entertain some 300 bureaucrats at a spa and casino in Las Vegas. The public and the media are not responding to favorably to how Caesar is spending his tribute.

No, what happens in Vegas does not always stay there it seems, but this story should have.

I am not into this notion that taxpayers’ money was spent. What GSA spent was no longer the taxpayers’ money. It was the government’s money. I don’t see citizens going into government offices claiming furniture. Sure taxpayers may not like what Caesar did with his tribute, but I have yet to hear anyone complain about how ineffective GSA is, assuming they are effective at all.

Needless to say there may be a management issue, but if you are flying and housing 300 people to a conference, it will cost. Maybe the entertainment was a bit much, but that was their call. It was probably less expensive to pay for entertainment than have people going around soliciting prostitutes.

The real concern, the real story should be about what this agency does and how well it does it.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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3 Responses to Let Caesar Spend his Money How He Sees Fit

  1. Alton,
    I wanted to express how interesting and different I found your angle on your blog post yesterday titled, “Let Caesar Spend His Money How He Sees Fit”.
    After researching the controversy, I was shocked to stumble across this statistic (that you might really appreciate)– the 2010 Western Regional Conference that cost $820,000 is just 0.0000027% of the $300 billion the government wastes yearly. In the grand scheme of things, hosting 300 politicians at a Las Vegas spa and casino is unlikely to be cheap. However, is a $75,000 bike team building exercise for 25 feasible? What about a psychic, clown, magician and a night of lavish entertainment, eating out, gambling and drinking on taxpayers’ tab?
    I argue that this is something that went over the top and should be repaid. We vote politicians into office with the faith, as their constituents, that they will spend our hard earned income wisely and in a beneficial way for all. I believe Western Regional Commissioner for U.S. GSA, Jeff Neely, should be fired and required to repay all that his friends and family have enjoyed on the country’s tab.
    I wanted to share with you a video about the GSA overspending on the 2010 Western Regional Conference that I think you will find relevant and supplemental to your coverage. I hope you enjoy it, as I included the link below.

    “Congress Grills GSA Execs on Excessive Spending”
    http://www.newsy.com/videos/congress-grills-gsa-execs-on-excessive-spending/

    The clip does a great job of concisely sourcing and compiling news reports to emphasize the scope and context the content being reported on. Newsy synthesizes and analyzes news into neutral comprehensive video clips showing a variety of opinions on the story.

    I hope you will embed this video into your blog and maybe in the future, we could swap blogroll links and widgets.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to working with you in the future,

    Lyndsey Garza
    Community for Newsy
    Twitter: @newsyvideos
    http://www.facebook.com/newsyvideos

  2. Kenneth J. Ciszewski says:

    “It was probably less expensive to pay for entertainment than have people going around soliciting prostitutes.”

    It would have been really interesting if someone had actually put “prostitute” on his expense report, and even more interesting if someone in management had approved it. Of course, it could have been listed under “entertainment”.

    Unfortunately, Alton is right about the money being the government’s once the taxes are paid. This isn’t much different from corporate money and the way CEOs (mis) handle it and get paid too much of it, despite Sarbanes Oxley. Mutual fund managers have this issue as well, in my opinion.

    Then there are hospitals, which years ago were built like high schools (dark halls, stark rooms), but now are built like palaces. Everyone is in to conspicuous consumption of some sort.

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