Sunday, July 19, 2009

First AIG and now Social Security: Lavish parties on our dime

Some of you may have seen this investigative report out of Arizona, but Social Security officials turned aside an Internet conference and met at a nice Arizona resort to charge their batteries at our expense.

In today's world $700,000 is probably not much, but it's a lot of money to people on fixed incomes and out of work.

So while our legislators grip and complain about private companies and their expenses, maybe it's time to begin the charity at home. I had another thought yesterday while weeding the yard: With all the people in the country out-of-work, or making major concessions on salary and benefits, isn't it time for our government to feel the pinch as well. Maybe a 10-20 percent pay cut for legislators and their staffs.

And here's an idea, any health care benefits that Congress decides that we should all have, they should be required to live under those same benefits and not the Lexus, lifetime benefits they enjoy now. Are you with me? Can I get a witness?

Here's the report on the Social Security conference (You'll have to suffer through a 15-second solar panel commercial first also notice that the time is 5:03 and the local temperature there was 111):

Video removed, because its auto play feature is annoying.

To be honest, I go both ways on these private and government conferences. On the one hand it's an outrage that the money is spent so frivolously in hard times, but these conferences also supply a lot of jobs for local service and hotel employees, not to mention airline companies.

Aside: Back in 1995 a group of Flint Journal employees, including me, found a writer's conference that was meeting in St. Louis. With the emphasis at the Journal on new, punchy writing, we approached management about sending a few of us to the conference to hone these techniques. The answer was that the company would pay our registration (I think about $200) for the weekend conference, but we would have to pay our own travel and lodging, which many of us did.

I think the most extravagant thing we did was ride the tram cars to the top of the arch. Also at our own expense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim I enjoy reading your stories
it is a side of you i haven't learn about yet