Editor's note: Matt Welch is Editor in Chief of Reason, and co-author (along with Nick Gillespie) of "The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America."
(CNN) - Have you heard the one about the Justice Department's $16 muffins? Probably not, though even if you have, this latest revelation of workaday government waste has long since lost its capacity to shock. And therein lies the real problem.
For those catching up: The DOJ's OIG (Office of Inspector General) Tuesday released an audit showing that the department spent nearly $500,000 for food and beverages at just 10 Justice-sponsored conferences in 2008 and 2009.
"One conference," auditors found, "served $16 muffins while another served Beef Wellington hors d'oeuvres that cost $7.32 per serving. Coffee and tea at the events cost between $0.62 and $1.03 an ounce. At the $1.03 per-ounce price, an 8-ounce cup of coffee would have cost $8.24."