The Tacoma News Tribune has an editorial objecting to bonuses for General Services Administration managers. I have nothing in the editorial qua the editorial to object to (OK, it starts off with an unnecessary metaphor implying that GSA managers are the same as dogs, but the thrust of the piece is fine). GSA fucked up and the pressure should stay on on them. This is the sort of public good that we expect newspapers to push, and to push hard.
But I don’t remember the Trib lamenting the managers at big banks getting bonuses. I did a few searches. Maybe I missed something. You can argue private versus public, that we should care more about a government agency like the GSA. But given the big banks central role in society (I’d say I interact with banks a lot more than with the GSA) surely they ought to be held accountable in some way. And of course one main reason they stayed afloat during the crisis and have done well since is the massive amount of freeish money taxpayers are giving them. Surely those bonuses to people who fucked things up are worse use of taxpayer money than bonuses to the GSA.
But fine, maybe that’s not a direct waste of taxpayer money if you buy what the banks are saying. Still there was a scandal about missing money in Iraq a few years ago and it pops up every now and again that kind of makes the GSA story seem teeny tiny itty bitty. The Trib’s Ed Board editorialized against it too. But this is the only one that I could find. After the 3rd inspector general’s report, they finally did one piece on it. It seems like any waste of money by a government agency cranks out similar outrage.