Another resignation at the Department of Veterans Affairs after the inspector general discovered that “as much as $762,000 was wasted on the conferences for a parody video of the movie ‘Patton,’ trinkets including pedometers and water bottles, and overpriced food and drinks. The total cost of the conferences was at least $6.1 million, but the IG report said sloppy record-keeping by VA made it impossible to determine a precise cost figure.”

Outrageous, of course. But hardly surprising. The bureaucrats at Veterans Affairs are part of the Washington culture, which includes Congress. When that body takes on the challenges of a "fiscal cliff," the members suit up, put their game faces on, and start handing out favors to, among others, rum distillers, NASCAR race track owners, and Hollywood producers.

The ritual firing of the occasional middle management bureaucrat for spending a little too gaudily will not accomplish much as long as the people who have their hands on some serious cash continue to overspend by a trillion dollars a year.

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