Higher-ups in the federal government have been cashing in on taxpayer money for their own personal benefit for years. It is a disrespectful way to treat the public’s money.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s office ordered a $31,000 customized dining set with government funds, according to usatoday.com. Honestly, no one really needs a dining set that costs more than my semester at college. According to the Office of Personnel Management’s Executive Pay Schedule, Carson makes $210,700 annually. With the amount of money he makes, he could have purchased the table out of his own pocket instead of taxpayer money.
Carson made an official statement saying “We were told there was a $25,000 budget that had to be used by a certain time or it would be lost. “ I find two problems with this: First, the budget was exceeded by $6,000 when the table was purchased; Second, there was a budget for $25,000 in the first place. Carson claims that he had no idea the table was purchased, but that is no excuse. He is still responsible for his staff members.
However, Carson is currently trying to cancel the table order after an investigation was opened, according to The New York Times. Although the cancellation may not be processed because the contractor who is building the table already spent $14,000 on it.
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned amid criticism of his use of taxpayer-funded chartered flights that cost roughly $400,000 for Price and his staff members.
When facing scrutiny, Price apologized and promised to back pay the government funds. However, according to The Washington Post, Price paid back approximately $52,000 in a check to the federal government which only covered the cost for his seat on the flights and not his staffs.
Officials such as Carson and Price are part of the reason that taxpayers are losing trust in the federal government. I would not fault anyone for believing that we are misrepresented by our own government after stunts like these.
All of their issues would have been easily solved if they had just learned to write checks from their own bank accounts. Taxpayers would probably prefer that rather than almost overspending just because Carson had worn out chairs in his office.
Our hard-earned money should not be used to buy things like overly expensive furniture and chartered flights. Officials need to learn to spend tax dollars ethically and responsibly, or spend their own money.