A small example of why government sucks and will continue to do so

First, a word about the article itself…after a few days it was moved to the archives of the El Paso Times, where they charge you a few bucks for looking it up.

All I did was paste the article title into Google, select ‘Cached’ and recovered the original for free.

I’m posting it here rather than have you go thru all that. Commentary to follow.

Fed employees used $146 million in unjustified travel
By Hope Yen / Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 10/02/2007 06:28:25 PM MDT

WASHINGTON – Federal employees wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period on business- and first-class airline tickets, in some cases simply because they felt entitled to the perk, congressional investigators say.

A draft report by the Government Accountability Office, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, is the first to examine compliance with travel rules across the federal government following reports of extensive abuse of premium-class travel by Pentagon and State Department employees.

The review of travel spending by more than a dozen agencies from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, found 67 percent of premium-class travel by executives or their employees, worth at least $146 million, was unauthorized or otherwise unjustified.

Among the worst offenders: the State Department, whose employees typically fly abroad on official business.

Many of the cases involved high-ranking senior officials or political appointees who claimed exceptions to federal travel rules by citing old medical records or questionable approval from a subordinate employee.

Investigators found that senior officials often flew business- or first-class because they felt entitled to the perk.

The higher airfare for traveling in one of the premium classes resulted in expenses often five to 10 times more than what was authorized under government travel rules.

“With the serious fiscal challenges facing the federal government, agencies must maximize their ability to manage and safeguard valuable taxpayers’ dollars,” investigators wrote, suggesting agencies recoup the extra cost from those who abuse travel policies.

Under federal rules, government employees generally must fly coach for both domestic and international travel unless the flight takes 14 hours or longer. A few exceptions apply when the employee receives agency approval based on a medical condition, security concerns, lack of availability of coach seats or when required “because of agency mission.”

Government investigators found that employees openly flouted the rules and agencies did little to check their abuses. Among the waste cited:

-An Agriculture Department executive took 25 premium-class flights costing $163,000 and said the extra expense had been authorized by a subordinate. In 10 of those trips, the traveler claimed exceptional circumstances to justify the pricier travel to western Europe, even though agency policy forbids premium-class travel unless the flight time is longer than 14 hours.

-Thirty-two State Department employees flew from Washington to Liberia in premium class over a six-month period. Five of those travelers did not have authorization for premium class; three had duplicate tickets and no evidence that the duplicates were refunded; and 17 were not properly justified, as their trips did not meet the 14-hour rule. These flights cost $293,000 and comparable coach-class tickets would have cost $124,000 – a difference of $169,000.

-At the Pentagon, a political appointee took 15 premium-class flights and cited a medical condition as justification for the $105,000 in expenses. However, the only evidence of a medical condition was a note signed by a fellow Pentagon employee, not a physician, attesting to surgery from several years earlier. The Pentagon did not have a doctor’s certification from the employee as required by agency policy.

-Nine Justice Department employees charged the agency $35,000 for premium-class air tickets to Frankfurt, Germany, claiming the flight time was over 14 hours. Investigators found the employees added a separate flight to their calculations to reach the 14-hour total, a practice not allowed under government travel rules. Also, two of the flights were not authorized.

The GAO, Congress’ investigative and auditing arm, said it was referring all cases it found of improper and abusive travel to the respective agencies and inspector general’s offices for possible administrative action and repayment of the difference between premium-class and coach-class travel.

The report comes as some lawmakers are pressing to strengthen government sunshine laws by requiring agency disclosure of business-class travel to Congress. Currently, business-class travel accounts for 96 percent of the premium travel claimed by federal employees.

“No one disputes the fact that government officials need to travel, as not all work can be done behind a desk. Nor should all premium-class travel be eliminated. But the rules are there for a reason and the federal government should enforce them,” said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Coleman noted that after a 2003 GAO report uncovered abuses in Pentagon travel, the department tightened policies and has since dramatically reduced its use of premium travel.

“We simply need the necessary oversight mechanisms in place to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent properly,” he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who is seeking to provide greater accountability in the use of government-issued credit cards, agreed.

“The federal employees who like to stretch their legs while they fly need to realize they’ve already stretched the taxpayer’s purse by $146 million,” he said. “Agencies need to be more responsible with their travel programs and employees who violate the policy should be held accountable.”

The latest GAO report noted that several government entities are not subject to government rules on premium-class travel – among them, the U.S. Postal Service, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. – opening up more opportunities for unnecessary waste.

Those entities often allow members of their board of governors to travel business or first class for shorter flights overseas and sometimes domestically. In one case, a deputy director of FDIC flew business class from Washington to London and back at a cost of $7,200, while a coach- class ticket would have cost $800.

———————–END ARTICLE———————–


I can tell you two things with absolute certainty regarding the above article. Actually, three things:

1) No changes will be made to the way the government does business, the travel cheats will continue to rip-off the public just as before.

2) No one will be fired from their government job for these rip-offs.

3) You and I won’t do a damned thing about 1 & 2.

This is a micro-example of how government operates and how government sucks. When I was in the Coast Guard, a civilian government employee and I did some work for a base down in San Diego. We traveled there from Long Beach and stayed in “the SD” about a week, and the whole time each of us had our own fairly nice room in a Hawaiian-themed hotel. We were fully authorized to do so, though I suppose if it wanted to, the CG could have just as easily made us stay in an inexpensive motel without waterfalls and glass elevators.

I’m not even sure what my point is, except perhaps that government employees already have it fairly good, so why cheat the public?

Well, let’s imagine we’re in their position. “YOU” are a mid-level bureaucrat sandwiched between clowns above you whose sole job is to kiss the asses of the moneyfolk above them responsible for next year’s budget, and a crew of jokers below you, half of whom are hopelessly incompetent, hired only because of their gender and/or skin color, cubicle welfare recipients which the other half below you wastes half their day trying to keep afloat.

You’re a mid-level bureaucrat, with no illusions that your job or your agency will improve itself or whomever it’s designed to serve. You had idealistic dreams once when you started 8 years ago, but now you’re a stuffed shirt who knows best to keep his/er mouth shut, smile like a farting poodle and attend the endless stream of fuck-all Diversity seminars and faux-holiday celebrations without complaint.

So here you get a chance to attend some thingy in another city, and dammit, you, the unsung hero of a ridiculously bad and useless government office, finally has a chance for a few hours to be left alone and get some First Class treatment, albeit at 30K feet. If Gakwavius Jenkins can claim he doesn’t have to file TPS reports “because of slavery” then you can certainly fudge a medical condition and eat filet mignon on a flight to some useless bullshit seminar in Hawaii.

And that’s how it happens, and will continue to happen. There should be a revolution of some kind, yes, but are you and I going to put down the remote or leave the drive-thru of Wendy’s before reaching the speaker-screen in order to “protest”? Where would we start? Who would listen? We shake our heads in knowing disgust at articles like this, that’s about it. It’s not even worth the stamp to write (y)our Congressperson.

Those of us at the bottom know the value of a dollar, even when we decide to burn it on Lotto and cigs and Slurpies and drugs. As the amount of wasted government monies soars into the billions and trillions, numbers the human mind cannot grasp, we simply become more numb.

It’s a miracle that government buildings don’t burn like California’s summer forests: a dependable miracle that lazy, incompetent, thieving gummint slobs will continue to count on forever. Mind you, I’m no anarchist, but any sane person after reading articles like the one above should feel the urge to become one.

More entertaining post; same subject; CLICK.


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14 Responses to “A small example of why government sucks and will continue to do so”

  1. motel todd Says:

    Government waste is as old as government itself. Waste is a huge problem, but I think lobbiests are even worse. I read somewhere there are over 600 lobbiests for each member of Congress! They’re all bought and paid for! They need to wear logos of SHELL, DORITOS, COCA COLA, etc on their business suits like the NASCAR drivers. At least we’d know who they REALLY represent.

  2. Digital Howie Says:

    Humanity is the real waste. I just got a call from a woman in who said our govt. should become responsible for her 27-year-old niece who, she said, “has no home. She’s pregnant. And has four other children, all taken away from her.” This woman wants the govt. to give this irresponsible dick licker and cum pocket a free home and provide her with job training. So don’t tell me about the massive inhumane b.s. govt. waste unless you include the waste that is the human waste, mutha fukka!

  3. meatlights39 Says:

    If the guvmint can get away with putting said cum dumpster on the payroll via “free” housing and welfare, they’ll do it. Government’s sole job is to fatten itself like a maggot on the flesh of the walking dead, the taxpayers. It’s almost beyond evil, it’s simply What Should Not Be trying to survive and thrive…

  4. tim Says:

    i have agree with all everyone has said. i’m 53 and disabled living on disability. i don’t like it but stuff happens. my question is, why hasn’t anything come out of all the complaining and disaproval to the state and local government all the way up to the white house done any good. ? all i’ve heard for the last 16 years or so are big friggin promises that lead up to no where but i ,and all other ” ordinary people ” as they describe us, is we have to pay for their crap through tax increases that really do no good that i’ve seen .. thats friggin sad, it’s damn friggin sad. these people in washington scare the crap out of me. seriously, they do. thank you.

  5. Shelly Says:

    America has lost its voice. It is our faught. We elect these officials to make uninformed decissions on our behalf. I can’t tell you the last time my congressman called me and asked which way I would like him to vote. This new bail out is trageted at the rich as ususal, what about us? Not to offend anyone but I have lost faith in for the people by the people with the democratic party in this years election. How is it that the super delg. have more say than the American public. I was a strong Clinton supporter and whether you are or not is beside the point. The point is that Clinton won the majority of the American “for the people by the people” vote yet lost. How does this statement define or right to vote. We need to reclaim our voice. Hold congress and senate accountable for their lack of accountability to the American people. They work for us we donot work for them. Reclaim!

  6. Stilts Says:

    just meandered in….

    Looking for something else, but very nice site….

  7. Winmeek Says:

    I read this and like it. Our government is very wasteful. It’s existence doesn’t depend on profitability or efficiency. Therefore one could think the less government the better. That’s how I think, and I am surprised there are so many who don’t agree.

    • Roger Says:

      I agree 100%. I for one want to make a stand. I would rather die standing up, fighting for my freedoms. Rather than die on my knees begging for them. To many people have already died for our freedoms and now the wonderful, little marxist, mmm, mmm, mmm is on a roll to take all of our freedoms away.

  8. Jon Says:

    This is only the tip of the ice berg. Considering that a large portion of government is overpaid, underworked, has insane benefits and outragous retirement (in CA, 90% of there salary…try to find this anywhere is the commercial world). I couldn’t find the article, but I remember seeing last year or so a study showing that government employees where making an average of 2-3 times for the same job in a private company.

    The gov also badly discrimates. Locally here, they cut funding for day care for disabled people, but will still fund for disabled people in wheel-chairs. What about blind, hearing impared, mentally disabled people?
    Are these people now not considered disabled?

    When you make a mistake, the gov fees the living crap out of you, with huge penalties. When a gov employee makes a mistake, there lucky to get any fine or penalty…if they do, it’s nothing compared to what you or I get fined. Not to mention…all the cases that continue to accumulate against gov employees for child molestation, fraud, rachetering, theft, etc. Not all, but a large portion of the gov has no ethics, morals or responsiblity.

    In the city where I live, they recently passed some “municiple codes” to help keep property values from devaluating. Of course this sounded nice, but really was just a ploy. How so?

    The city charges all non-occupied property owners an annual inspection fee, where they write citations for such things as weeds, inoperatable vehicles and so forth. However, they do not and will not write citations of neighboring owner-occupied properies regardless of what violations there are unless a complaint is filed. But, they’ll stop by rental properties once a year and write all kinds of violations without a single complaint being filed (all for a fee of course). So theres just a small amount of discrimination there. When new home building died two years ago, there was nothing for code enforcement to do…so this became a “jobs program” to keep and pay for code enforcement.

    I haven’t figured out why gov employees are under contract? I mean really, who does that anymore for standard type jobs? The abuse…a city employee was charged with domestic violence here. So guess what? They paid him $200,000 to buy his contract out claiming they had no good reason to terminate him. Huh…he’s a criminal. Another gov employee was convicted for being a dope addict. They bought this contract out for $500,000. This is just out-right stupidity. These morons did this to themselves and in a commercial job, would have been terminated outright, without any pay. But not in the gov…nope…they pay them huge bucks to be screw ups! As a side note, this is also one of the reasons why this country is bankrupt.

    There are many many more examples of the huge amount of stupidity, over-spending and lack of responsibility in the gov. This list would be huge. The gov has recently gone into that the tax-payer is getting screwed…yep there right, but it’s the gov who’s been screwing the tax payer.

  9. lorenzo Says:

    common people like you and me being census by who knows, in our times like julius whatever, we get punish for what whatever becomes to be illegal in caesar’s eyes. Get crucified for free. Credit card co, police, companies, credit reports, bad advertisment with free bull shit to get you in. who controll them? please don’t get seek no doctors anymore, technology is taking over you are a robot. Insurance insure fraud, and the american dream, was an slogan. It will be nice really close all borders, and avoid puppets mexican presidents comming over here and get round applause just to saying the best and powerfull country in teh world. pe3ople its getting tired of private wars, false patriotism, even perhaps discrimination . who knows. REPUBLICANS DEMOCRATS YOUR ARE OLD. runn=ing old bussines. I drop the lawyer school for personal reasons. hope my letter bothers you as me all ready bother. by the way here in my hometown, i was having lunch an two really HILLBILLIES DRINKING BEER HAVING A POLITICAK CONVERSATION THEY QUOTE ” AMERICAN PEOPLE IS BEAUTIFUL, SYSTEM s u c k s

  10. christopher payton Says:

    i have read all the post well because in school they teach yu about how the sysytem is good yeah my ass. i am a student in highschool and i cant even find a job but yet everyone (older people) are telling me its so easy to find a job yeah its cuz their taking all the fucking jobs the economy needs to shot up send me a message and let me know what you think my mind is always open for new thoughts

  11. Educating Christopher, Part One « Says:

    [...] latest comment to my post “A small example of why government sucks and will continue to do so” was from Christopher P., a high school [...]

  12. charlie Says:

    Raise taxes?? why dont polititions take a pay cut or pay for their own retirment–why do they expect the working man to work his fingers to the bone so them bastards can eat steak and fly first class and spend all the money that we the American citizens give them to do the right things with–all they want to do is line their pockets and stay in office as long as possible and drain the tax payers for as long as possible–last time i checked i had to pay for my own insurance and work hard for my money just to eat bolonga and pay for my gas–it would be a great thing if any politition could only serve no more than 2 years–i bet we wouldnt have all this debt that america is in–so mr.judge and mr. congressman and the rest of you greedy s.o.b.’s enjoy your next meal on the house from the american people

  13. Bud Good Says:

    Yup…. our government truly sucks. Since when did America (formerly one of the wealthiest nations in the world) ever ‘owe’ anybody? There was once a time when many other nations owed ‘us’. Many we never collected from, which makes me think, “What the heck was the point of calling it a loan?” If we had all the money that is owed to us that other countries defaulted on in the past, we wouldn’t even be in this financial crisis… just an observation! Democrats and Republicans… they all suck! Why not do away with both and create one simple party… the “American Party”. Then they can vote whichever way they feel in their heart is right without fear of ridicule from others for not voting the same way as a completely separate party or parties. Am I the only person on Earth who thinks this way?

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