The Cost of Price

By Susan Kuebler

In an article published earlier by Politico, former congressman Tom Price, now the Secretary for Health and Human Services, used private jets for official government travel five times between the dates of September 13 and September 15.  That’s five times in fewer than three days. Most recently, he and KellyAnne Conway traveled on a jet that seats 30 people to make a round trip from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia.  That one trip alone cost the taxpayers approximately $25,000.

There’s nothing like serving in Washington, D.C. to make you think you are better than everyone else, or that your time is more valuable.  Why on earth should a Cabinet member be required to travel with hoi polloi, even if he does get to go first class?  When this story is coupled with the recent news that Treasury Secretary flew with his new bride on a personal jet to Fort Knox, that just happened to include viewing the eclipse, and his request (which was denied) for a government jet to take for his honeymoon, one gets a sense that this is an administration of entitlement.  At our expense.

Anyone who has done so knows that flying commercial can be a royal pain in the butt.  But if you are a Cabinet member, you would certainly receive priority status for just about everything.  There are few excuses for not flying commercial unless, as Politico points out, you have to travel to an area that is difficult to reach otherwise.  Philadelphia is definitely not one of those areas.  In addition to commercial airlines, travel from D.C. to Philly is also covered by Amtrak, or if you want to be really adventurous, it is easily drivable as well.  And there are three airports that can be used by residents of D.C. (Reagan, Dulles, and Baltimore) so there are plenty of options available.

There are government officials who need to fly in government planes, either for security and/or communications issues.  But the Secretaries of HHS and the Treasury are not in this privileged group. No doubt, they feel left out of the “club.”  But that hardly justifies the misuse of taxpayers dollars to sooth their hurt egos.  A mid-level pharmaceutical company once had its headquarters in the Atlanta area and its manufacturing plant in Baudette, MN.  Travel between those two locations involved the following logistics:

Fly commercial (not business class) from Atlanta to St. Paul, MN
Commuter jet (aka puddle jumper) from St. Paul to Bemidji, MN.
Two hour rental car drive from Bemidji to Baudette

Tom Price might have been familiar with this company.  It was located in his congressional district.

We’ve already seen Donald Trump and his family rack up enormous travel expenses during his brief tenure in office.  A weekend visit to his Florida resort of Mar-A-Lago is estimated to cost us roughly $3,000,000.  As former Senator Everett Dirksen once said on the floor of the Senate regarding a spending bill “A million here and a million there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”  Those who shouted the loudest at wasteful government spending, including Tom Price, now have no problem with it when it concerns themselves.  Perhaps these bloodsuckers now that their time in power is limited, so they are going for everything they can get.

According to Politico, “Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for department-wide cost savings, declined to comment.” Well, duh.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. Julian of Norwich.

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