Thursday, May 3, 2012

The GSA Boondoggle

Recently my brother was complaining about the wasteful expenses run up by the GSA at its Las Vegas conference, and I was agreeing that it was shameful, until my brother said, "And this is at a time when there's over 8% unemployment."

Today's high unemployment is completely the wrong thing by which to judge the GSA expenditure.  The money spent on shrimp and commemorative coins and other fripperies was helping people who supply such stuff keep their jobs, and so (albeit in a small way) helping the employment situation.  Of course it would have been better had the money been spent on something useful for the future of the country - fixing a bridge or a road, keeping a teacher from being laid off, added to the pot of investment in renewable energy, and so on - but in the context of today's unemployment rate, if it's a choice between spending the money foolishly and not spending it at all - then foolish spending is better than none.

It's indicative of the poor job our news media does in informing the public of the relationship between government spending and employment that my brother would fail to see the inappropriateness of the context by which he chose to judge the GSA's wasteful spending - and this is a person who deals with figures for his living: he's an accountant.

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