Don't blame Vegas

The federal government blows through about $10 billion per day, borrowing more than a quarter of what it spends. The bureaucracy is so massive, and its huge work force is paid so much, that neither extraordinary efficiency nor obscene spending within any one agency makes much of a difference in the exploding national debt.

This is why top officials within the Government Services Administration clearly thought nothing of dropping $820,000 on an over-the-top, 300-person training conference at Henderson's M Resort in October 2010, and why it took so long to hold them accountable for throwing lavish parties at the expense of taxpayers struggling to survive a terrible recession.

The blowout is a symptom of Washington's free-spending culture, not of Las Vegas' reputation for frill and fun.

On Monday, GSA chief Martha Johnson resigned after she fired two deputies and suspended four workers who planned the conference. The GSA oversees federal office space and supplies and sets travel and procurement policies for other agencies -- policies that weren't followed for the Henderson conference.

A suggestion for the GSA: Restock the agency and other federal offices with big red flags, because workers clearly aren't seeing any if they can plan and enjoy an event with a mind reader and tuxedo rentals without a second thought.

This latest episode of Washington waste underscores the importance of passing a balanced budget and waylays the notion that Congress needs even more spending money. That it happened in Las Vegas is mere coincidence.


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