Day #103: Flying Lizards – “Money”
I would like to take this time to emphasize just how much the General Services Administration fucked everything up for the rest of the fiscally responsible agencies and organizations that now have to jump through unnecessary and complicated hurdles to host or attend legitimate conferences.
I’d also like to point out what a terrific opportunity that fuck up gave Congress to show zero tolerance for wasteful government spending without having to make an issue of their own contributions to the problem. That Dr. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma’s Man Against Science and current U.S. Senator, was behind the recent efforts is not surprising. I don’t know why a guy with a background in medicine has such a vendetta against scientific research (more recently, he’s published reports criticizing studies funded by the National Science Foundation, without having any idea of the value of said studies). It was announced yesterday that as a result of all this (in addition to several resignations at the GSA), there will now be a website where citizens can see how federal monies are being used at conferences. Which, essentially means paying a developer to create a website and hiring staff to manage its content. Brilliant idea, guys! A lot of time and embarrassment could have been spared with a simple oversight mechanism requiring very detailed reporting of conference expenditures in the first place.
I wonder what government would be like if elected leaders were forced only to legislate within specialized fields. Sure, there are committees and subcommittees, and advisory cabinets, but in the end, your legislative and executive leaders are ultimately required to weigh in on everything. Including the things they know nothing about. What if you elected officials to a post that dealt with a specified range of issues – education, the environment, crime, health care, etc. Granted, the boundaries are not always so clear cut, and there could be a document, like the Constitution, that outlines who deals with particular issues the way we now delegate certain matters to the Federal Communication Commission or the Department of Agriculture. Overlapping issues could be debated jointly by interested groups, or be thrown to one or another by the decision of a governing body. That might create a less frustration on the part of specialists trying to accomplish things, but having to go through channels of uninterested or ill-informed parties to get things done.