Andy Roth, Vice President of Club for Growth, highlighted a Boston Herald article about renovations to an IRS facility in a tweet he sent out this week:

An IRS facility in Mass. will include a reflecting pool, an art gallery, and indoor gardens. – than a minute ago via TweetDeck

The Herald reports that the Andover, Massachusetts facility will boast a host of new amenities after its makeover, including “a reflecting pool, an art gallery, indoor gardens, a 7,000-square-foot cafeteria, and an amphitheater” but concedes that “it remains unclear what new permanent jobs, if any, will come to the center.”

The article also quotes Jonathan Levi whose firm is taking the lead on the renovation:

“[The redesigned building] will be a comfortable, collaborative environment” that would foster “community and belonging,” Levi said. “It will be welcoming for the people who use it.”

What a relief! Chief among the concerns of Americans who are struggling to find or keep their jobs is whether federal tax-collectors work in a space that is “welcoming” and “collaborative”. The project is expected to cost $92 million—after receiving a $80.5 million injection of stimulus cash just last month. The new building will have space for 1,100 new IRS employees, but it is unclear whether the branch had any plans to grow their staff after laying off 1,400 workers just last year.

These financial excesses have become legend. A recent paper by Heritage scholar Brian Reidl, titled “Federal Spending By the Numbers” details a host of other examples of out-of-control federal spending. Among the waste:

  • Because of overstaffing, the U.S. Postal Service selects 1,125 employees per day to sit in empty rooms. They are not allowed to work, read, play cards, watch television, or do anything. This costs $50 million annually.
  • Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
  • A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her staff have charged taxpayers $101,000 forin-flight services”—including food and liquor—during trips on Air Force jets over the last two years. Charges reportedly include “Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, and Corona beer.”
  • The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
  • Washington spent $126 million in 2009 on projects associated with the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D–MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

It is absolutely essential that Washington rein in this type of wasteful spending as well as tackling real and lasting entitlement reform. Until it does, this insanity will continue.