I work in a small, four-story suburban office building. I have seen our fire drills and can look out at our parking lot, and I would be surprised if there are 200 people in the building. A few months ago some division of Chrysler moved in and took a bunch of the space. A lot still remains empty (which is why I am here -- cheap!)
The Chrysler folks put a sign downstairs a few days ago saying that they would be hosting a luncheon for the building. Great, I thought, a free hot dog and some fruit salad. Imagine my shock when I saw this when I arrived today:
Chrysler sent three full semi-trailers, one of cars and two of convention-type booths and displays, plus a whole crew of people to set this up, all for a lunch in our building with less than 200 people. I thought maybe that we were just getting a preview of a larger public event, but I am looking out my window now and they are tearing down again. Crazy.
One thing that even many libertarians get wrong: Wasting money is not unique to government entities. Private and public entities can become senescent, and grow bureaucracies that lose focus on what they are supposed to be doing. The difference between the private and the pubic sphere, though, is that for private companies, markets eventually enforce discipline (either forcing change or killing off the bloated entity). There is no similar mechanism for state agencies short of perhaps absolute bankruptcy, and Greece is proving even that is not enough to force change.
Of course, when the government gives large private entities with political pull special protections and bailouts, then no such accountability is enforced. The same people are operating the company with the same false assumptions and unlearned lessons.