You remember the art scandal, including 2/3 of a million dollars squandered on art for a VA facility for the blind? As Adam Andrzejewsji writes at Forbes,
Just last month, a VA spokesperson stood in front of the infamous $1.2 million “cubed-rock” sculpture in Palo Alto, CA and argued that this type of artwork “creates a healing environment.” Yes, nothing creates a healing environment quite like long waiting lines that are in part the result of resources being misallocated.
The VA issued an apology…
And stopped the spree, right? Uh, wrong:
…and instituted new rules governing artwork purchases going forward.
Oh, great. At least they fixed their previous habit of selecting only non-veteran artists for their largessed, right? Er, no, they:
…ignored a proposed policy that veterans’ art be displayed in VA medical centers.
So what do they do? Andrzjewski explains:
the new rules are weakly designed, and don’t stop future luxury art purchases. The VA now merely requires just a few more administrators to sign-off on the transactions.
So, why didn’t the VA institute a permanent moratorium on pricey art?
Well, it could be personal to the top administrators. Oil portraits, busts, and self-named buildings have a certain appeal to bureaucrats.
We can see a sculpture of George Washington in a Federal building. Maybe Ike or Halsey, or Grant, Sherman or (quel horreur!) Lee. But the VA’s been spending tens of thousands each on sculptures and oil paintings of VA bureaucrats and obscure, undistinguished Congressmen.
Is it time to disband this thing yet?