"" reads one of last week's print headlines. This should be good news. So why do businesses continue to struggle and why does watching the GSA (General Services Administration) debacle strike a raw nerve amidst the quest for businesses’ survival?
As a small business owner, I can attest to the downturn in the economy. Since 2009, like many small businesses, we work harder and longer than ever before. Because marketing is often seen as superfluous, many companies’ first course of action in economic downturns is to cut this sector. Though we have been fortunate, the result for a majority of Marketing and Public Relations companies nationwide is a reduction in contracts, resulting in a decline of work, creating a cycle of cuts including, but not limited to, employee workforce. The outcome of this spiral falls in a multitude of ways—from business failure to having to do more with less. Marketing and PR firms are not alone. All industries are affected, including the fields of construction, architecture, real estate, service industries.... We have all "felt the burn," some more than others, and in the marketing sector specifically; nationwide contracts show declines of upwards of 42 percent in the past 5 years. Compound this with difficulties in obtaining capital and it is no wonder that the business world is frustrated and angry.
Then, we watched the April 16th Congressional hearing as Jeffrey Neely, the western regional commissioner of the GSA answered questions from the Oversight Committee about the lavish conference in Las Vegas on the taxpayer dime totaling approximately $750,000.00. Neely plead the 5th at least 6 times. Today, he remains on administrative leave, still being paid, while the investigation takes place.
On so many levels this is wrong. The most obvious is that the GSA is funded by the taxpayer/business, who are burdened with funding government entities like the GSA. What kind of arrogance exists when taxpayer money is used by a government agency (whose purpose it is to serve the taxpayer) on avacation that most taxpayers will never have. How out of touch with reality can government become? How does something like this even happen?
Last week Palladian View asked women across the nation to respond to an inquiry about these exact facts. Here are a few of the responses:
- A reader from South Carolina - No one has a right to a job (do they?) and when you start pleading the 5th, it seems to me that you are done in that job!
- A former state legislator from Kansas responded - I understand that the law allows persons on administrative leave to be paid and receive all benefits during a set time. I however, cannot understand such a policy being utilized when a person of this position was oblivious to agency malpractice and misconduct..... It becomes obvious that government services are not the answer to oversight of price controls.
- Another one from Ohio replied - If this occurred in the private sector he would have been fired along with everyone else involved. No need to continue to waste our taxpayer dollars with hearings - they have the proof with the videos these guys took.
- And a CPA from Tennessee answered - This entire situation is shameful. I am not surprised. The GSA has been wasting money for years. I saw it my whole career. They have real property all over this country with paid employees literally sitting in empty, unused buildings. The employees do nothing. The waste has always been out of control, but this tops them all. Jeffrey Neely pleads the fifth. Of course! He should not be paid. He should be dismissed without pay. If he is found innocent, then he can receive back pay.
The anger and frustration these women express is felt by most Americans who continue to work hard daily, with less to show for their efforts. When the dreams of a better day for our children and grandchildren are in peril, incidents like the GSA rightfully call into question the arrogance of the federal government and validate the “out of touch” sentiment the average voter has toward their government.
In the past five years, the private sector has been forced to become more agile, fluid, and responsive to simply exist. Likewise, every taxpayer and business owner has the right to demand accountability and legitimate work product from the government we fund.
Karen Floyd is the Publisher of www.palladianview.com, the digital magazine for conservative women.