Editorial: Federal credit limits have been reached

Still searching for a career after college? Well, search no more. The perfect career opportunity is upon us. Be a federal government employee; benefits include access to a government-issued credit card for all the diamonds, clothes and other “business purchases” you could ever want. Federal employees spent an estimated $18.4 billion last year, according to a CNN.com report, on everything from rent, to furniture to cash advances at casinos. As tax-paying Americans, we should all be granted our own, individual, government credit cards so that we too, may have a piece of the action.

An audit this week found that government-issue credit cards are being abused in the worst way. Of the 79,192 employees in Interior Department, 56,664 have these passes to paradise in their wallets and purses, with credit limits of $2,500. The department is reviewing its policies and questioning whether so many employees should have these credit cards. There is an obvious answer to that qestion.

This audit reveals that government employees defaulted on $62 million in travel expenses on government credit cards from January to November last year. They were to charge the expenses to the cards, be reimbursed by the government and personally take care of paying the credit card bill. For some unknown reason, they didn’t take that last step, and the bill was instead passed to the American taxpayers.

The fault in this case does not lie with government employees. They couldn’t pay the bills, they had a credit card handy, why blame them? When a government, capable of auditing even the lowliest small-town businessman, can’t keep track of its own employees, there is something seriously wrong. Maybe instead of asking whether so many should have credit cards, maybe they should start questioning the use of credit cards, period. Otherwise, start requesting your platinum cards today, just in time for summer vacation.