When I pay my own bills, I'm careful to make sure the provider is not cheating me. It's my money, after all, not someone else's, and I've worked hard for it. It's probably less likely that the provider of goods or services is going to try to pull something over on me if he knows I'm the one writing the check. After all, he wants me back as a customer -- and he may even have to look me in the eye when he hands me the bill.
But that is not the way it works when a third party pays the check. There is simply no accountability. We turn our money over to the government to dispense it as our elected officials decide and then trust that the funds will be wisely spent.
I doubt the offending IRS officials gave a second thought to what they were actually doing when they traveled to Anaheim for a good time. You can't imagine one of them breaking into their neighbor's house to raid the refrigerator for free meals or to help themselves to a few trinkets to take home for their own enjoyment. (And if the neighbor found out, he likely would have called the police.) But because the money belonged to other people -- and anonymous people at that -- it was a lot easier for those government workers to pretend their profligacy didn't hurt anyone.
The bigger government gets the more it does, and the more of our money it spends the greater the likelihood we'll see these scandals repeated. It's all about spending other people's money.
Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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