Social Security employees enjoy $700,000 junket
(RAW STORY) Even though the Social Security Administration faces possible insolvency within the next three decades unless benefits are decreased or taxes are significantly raised, the agency recently paid $700,000 for a three-day conference at a lavish resort in Arizona. The conference was held at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the self-described “Jewel of the Desert,” which has on its 39 acres a golf course, multiple swimming pools, and dance clubs, according to a report by an ABC News affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Social Security Administration’s Regional Commissioner in San Francisco, Peter Spencer said that the conference was necessary because employees were under great stress due to the large number of threats hurled their way by average Americans.
“We received threats against our employees by people who are in the American public,” Spencer said, “There is a tremendous amount of stress involved in the job that we do.” The conferences reduce stress for employers and their employees who have to face a hostile public, Spencer claimed.
ABC News’ local affiliate in Phoenix showed tape of performances by a motivational dance company hired for the conference.
On its website, the hotel boasts that “Arizona’s historic Grand Dame radiates an undeniable mystique of refinement and splendor.” The website also says the hotel has “78 one-and two-bedroom villas,” “eight swimming pools,” “seven tennis court,” a “full service resort spa, salon, and fitness center,” and “five dining options.”
The conference wasn’t unique. The Social Security Administration has spent more than a million dollars on similar ones around the country.
One member of Congress, Congressman Kevin Brady, R-TX, who is investigating, told the local news station: “It’s especially frustrating when you have people who truly are disabled,” said Brady. “Who will wait years just to get their case heard and years more just to get a little help?”