Remember back in ye olden days when you'd get a giant Christmas bonus at the company's Christmas party, where food and drink were plentiful and abundant? (If not, just go with it; it helps the rest of this.)
Nowadays, we're lucky if our boss doesn't put a pink slip in our stocking, and if they don't, our bonus consists of some coupons they've clipped out, and we're given fifty cents to put in the vending machine downstairs.
The same tough restrictions hold true for the defense industry and other fatcat lobbyists, reports the Hill. With the economic climate the way it is, and with (dammit) stricter ethics rules in place, the booze and au jus from the steamship round aren't flowing as freely as they used to.
The paper says that "events are likely to be less opulent than they once were. As one Washington insider put it, 'the days of renting out the Air and Space Museum' for holiday parties are over."
If our fatcats are scaling back, through whom can we live vicariously?
The paper notes that although the economy is creating some of the issues, especially with public perception, it's the stricter ethics and lobbying rules that are scaling back things. So let's blame the lawyers. The article cites a number of officials talking about how the plans they still have in place have been scrubbed by the lawyers to comply with all pertinent (and boring) ethics rules.
Yawn. Stupid rules ruining everything that used to be fun.
For departments themselves, budget tightening is scaling back what they do. At Treasury, for example, the employee holiday party continues, but that is being (as it has been) paid for by senior employees at the department. But the paper says that they have had to cut back the party they throw for their friends on Congress, as well as the separate one they threw for the press and media. Both of those came out of the department's tax-payer funded budget.
Where's the fun in that? Shouldn't all these ex-Goldman Sachs execs get to party on the taxpayers' dime one last time?