By Lynda Lamp
Governmental fiscal responsibility seems to be an unknown trait for Tom Price and his “rigorous” travel schedule and private charters. Politico reports:
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, according to people with knowledge of his travel plans and a review of HHS documents.
We can fly all over the world and that is great, but it’s so old school given the technology of today! I keep wondering why does he (and everyone else for that matter) need to travel so much? Why can’t government embrace a new way of conducting their business?
If you are not aware, there is world class video conferencing software available that could easily handle the rigors of our Federal, State, and Local Governments. The vendor I am most familiar with is Zoom. Zoom video and web conferencing is the most amazing way to gather and meet with people that you’ve ever imagined! So simple and yet so powerful. If you have a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone all you need an internet connection or cell signal, and you can participate in the video conferencing. If all you have is a telephone line, you can still participate by audio only. Even a free Zoom Account lets you upload a profile photo so people can still see your face.
The number of individuals who can attend an event is virtually unlimited (other than perhaps bandwidth?), and indeed there is no limit to the distance. I have participated in conferences with people from around the world, from every Continent! Set to speaker mode, the video switches to whoever is speaking. Everyone on video can see everyone else. The sessions can get recorded, and the chat transcript gets saved.
Certainly there are times when it will be important for our legislators or department heads to all gather in one place, and certainly, there are some important meetings that we want our leaders to conduct in person. But for the vast majority of the work they are doing, why couldn’t they work from home or office and video commute?
It’s the 21s Century for crying out loud! When are the leaders going to start acting like it? When are the leaders going to model to us the behavior we should be embracing? The behavior much of the world is already embracing! I video conference with people around the world every week! We need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, right? Don’t we all agree? Well, travel is one of the largest uses of fossil fuels. Those planes do not get off the ground and fly around the planet on peanut butter.
We might need to upgrade technology in the Capitol. Maybe what we see when we watch CSPAN on the Senate or House Floors is our legislators’ faces via flat screens!
I can hear all the objections, and I refuse to acknowledge any of them. There is no reason in the world we shouldn’t embrace video conferencing in our governments, particularly at the Federal level. Don’t even come near me with “where will the money come from?”
Because you know what my answer will be?
The money will come from Tom Price’s travel budget! $300,000 since May of 2017 is what he’s spent; that will sure buy a heck of a lot of computer equipment. And trust me, for the opportunity to have their logo at every Congressperson’s seat, I guess that Apple will make the Government an attractive deal. (Why Apple? Simple, 100% safer than a P.C. and a better investment for the long term. End of that story.)
Back to our crisis at hand. In addition to Mr. Price sucking the coffers dry, the Secret Service budget already got blown for the year. Case in point. We can save tons of money on Secret Service if everyone would stay put!
I’m not advocating for a loss of jobs but a redistribution of employment. Those employed in Secret Service will still have plenty of work, but even the Secret Service can benefit from fewer travel expenses.
As I said earlier: It’s the 21st Century folks. We have the technology to solve our problems, almost all of them. When will the people rise and demand we use them? Our “leaders” aren’t…who is going to take the lead?
Will it be you?