Obama, Republicans & Media Outraged By GSA Vegas Excursion. (Get Over Yourselves.)
If you search the word ‘lavish’ today you’ll see a boatload of stories about the GSA – General Services Administration – and its 2010 training retreat in Las Vegas. It seems the agency spent $822,751 on the trip including such scandalous behavior as hiring a team-building expert who used bicycle-building as a metaphor for cooperation at a cost of $75,000.
As a result of an internal report made public this week, the GSA’s chief has resigned along with two key lieutenants and at least four other officials are at risk. The media’s been pounding the agency and the Obama administration all morning and Republicans wasted no time piling on.
The trip in question was a 5-day event for 300 people. That’s $2,742.50 per person or $548 per day. I’m not saying those numbers reflect well on government fiscal responsibility but $548/day including air travel, accommodations, all meals, entertainment and hours-long work sessions isn’t a terrible deal. Team-building (not to mention morale-building) is not a trivial matter, especially among large groups of people and particularly among a group like this whose minute-to-minute objective is to goad, encourage and force people to do more with less. Ironic, yes, but not without value. Besides, a few hundred bureaucrats returning to their desks a little less gray is unquestionably good for the country.
On the other hand, it’s been estimated that the unnecessary and fraudulently waged war in Iraq will cost America somewhere between $1-$3 trillion. On the low end, that’s over $3,225 per American citizen. (Of course, it will continue to take its toll in other ways for decades to come.)
Who’s been fired for that? Where’s the GSA report? Who do I talk to about getting my $3,225 back?
No one died as a result of the 2010 GSA team-building trip. In Iraq, over 4,400 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis died.
Then there’s Afghanistan.
And, by the way, who got fired for this and for all the billions in pork that Congress pisses away year after year after year?
My suggestion to the media and to Republicans is get your priorities straight. My suggestion to an “outraged” President Obama is save your outrage for your own deep failings thus far as President.
As for the rest of us, let’s try to light a fire today for something that actually matters.