Veteran’s Affairs Budget Meeting: Wastes Money, Accomplishes Nothing

By intern on October 20, 2011

Department of Veteran's AffairsThere are numerous stories of stupid and ironic government budget decisions, but the Veteran Affairs department’s conference may take the cake.  In January, the VA arranged for a 60 person conference to discuss potential disabled veteran budgetary cuts that would enable them to meet budget requirements.  This 11 day conference (which did not reach a firm consensus) racked up a $221,000 bill—enough to provide six 100% disabled veterans with their annual disability compensation.  This information is only coming to light now because of the end of the military financial year, which reset Oct. 1, and subsequent budget reporting and adjustments (as a side note, the individual conference expenditures do not have to be reported, just the total conference cost).  The previous financial year the VA spent approximately $289 million on meetings and conferences, and is anticipating increasing that amount to almost $400 million for conferences and meetings.  Just like January’s.  Which cost $221,000.  And did nothing.

For an organization dedicated to helping support veterans, the VA really seems to be doing a poor job.  I know I could assemble a 60-man team and send them to Arizona for 11 days of accomplishing nothing at under $120,000 easily (Email me to be put on my list).  Or better yet, I could host an online teleconference and just order pizza and Chinese takeout for everyone for a fraction of the cost.  All of the government’s talk about budget balancing won’t solve the financial and budgetary problems if they are not demonstrating basic financial responsibility themselves.  This is what drives us further into debt; talking about the problem instead of solving it.

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