Leah Barkoukis

It turns out wasteful government spending on lavish conferences didn’t end with the GSA’s Las Vegas bash in 2010. According to a new congressional report, 894 conferences were held in 2012 costing taxpayers a whopping $340 million. Worse yet, these figures only include “big-ticket” conferences, or those with a price tag of $100,000 or more.

The numbers, released in conjunction with a hearing Wednesday on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, come as the federal government braces for automatic spending cuts set to hit Friday. Some lawmakers have claimed that Washington could offset the impact by trimming the waste -- be it low-priority hires, needless government studies, or conferences. 

While trimming government waste certainly isn’t the only means by which we can bring our out-of-control spending in line, it's certainly the best first step, and people like Sen. Rand Paul are setting a fine example of fiscal prudence for others to follow. It’s absurd to think that most American families have to cut back every day just to balance the budget yet government bureaucrats think the slightest cuts are unfair. What’s particularly troubling, however, is that a few agencies held more than 100—in one year.

But the Defense Department, which is also the biggest department in Washington, held nearly 300 conferences at a cost of $89 million. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs held 127 at a cost of $72.7 million; the Justice Department held 107 at a cost of $58.7 million; and the Department of Health and Human Services held 140, at a cost of $56.1 million. 

And for what? “A lot of them are essentially sessions to make people feel good,” Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa says. 

 

Washington bureaucrats could stand to learn a thing or two from Neal Boortz’s Dollar Bill Savings Plan.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the online features editor and web editor at Townhall.com.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography