GSA Scandal Is a Window to the Way Washington Really Works

The latest government scandal resulting in the resignation of the head of the General Services Administration (GSA) is just a small sample of the way our government really works. It's just like when a doctor takes a sample of your blood to check the condition of the rest of your body. The GSA inspector general report released last week calling spending at a Las Vegas team building conference "excessive and wasteful" is just a window into what's happening all over Capitol Hill.

These types of investigations are released all the time, though they rarely receive any publicity. Maybe it was the series of videos highlighting the agency's lavish spending. Maybe it was the fact that the administrator was forced to resign and two employees were fired. Truth be told, a lot of administration heads should probably resign. These abuses are not unique to the Obama administration; they've gone on for decades.

For example, this particular investigation highlighted the fact that the GSA awarded thousands of dollars earmarked for small businesses to a large business, failing to follow federal government contracting laws. This happens every day and all day long. As early as 2003, the GAO released an investigation finding that millions of dollars earmarked for small businesses were diverted to the largest companies in the world.

The Small Business Administration inspector general has said for the last seven years that the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants is one of the top management challenges at the SBA. And yet, the government refuses to fix the problem. Today, as you're reading this, millions of dollars that should by law be awarded to small businesses are being diverted to the largest companies worldwide.

The situation at the GSA will not change regardless of who is in charge. You won't see any legislation to stop these kinds of abuses come out of Washington. Just like you haven't seen any legislation passed to stop the SBA and federal agencies from diverting billions of dollars in government contracts to the largest companies in the world. Big business has the power in Washington, not you, me or any other member of the public.

So America's in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 80 years. We know from the U.S. Census Bureau that small businesses create over 90 percent of net new jobs. They generate more than half the GDP, half the private sector workforce and more than 90 percent of U.S. exports. And yet the diversion of government contracts away from small business will continue unabated the same way it has for more than a decade.

Until the American people get tired the way the government caters to big business and wastes our tax dollars, they will continue to be the lambs led to slaughter while Wall Street bankers, defense contractors and other large corporations continue to command the White House and Congress.