Fly Coach, Instead

I realize that $550 million is but a drop in the seemingly bottomless bucket that is the federal budget, but I am still irked at Members of Congress for spending that sum to buy new jets to ferry them around on their boondoggle “fact finding” trips. At a time of belt-tightening by average Americans, is it too much to ask Congress to engage in some self-restraint? Are our elected representatives so possessed of a sense of self-importance that they can’t even rub elbows with those of us who fly coach?

And speaking of boondoggle fact-finding missions, this Wall Street Journal article about rapidly growing congressional travel expenses is an eye-opener. One nice thing about global warming — it is such an elastic “issue” that virtually any trip to any location on Earth may be explained away as giving lawmakers first-hand information about climate change in that part of the world.

It is not surprising that both Republicans and Democrats are willing to spend tax dollars to take fine trips without apparently experiencing an ounce of embarrassment that they are taking advantage of their positions. It’s just another example of The D.C. Effect, where politicians who initially are elected as reformers or watchdogs or representatives of the common man end up being fundamentally corrupted by the money and perks thrown at Members of Congress.

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