Unites States citizens are currently paying for some Washington bureaucrats to fly around in private jets. Sheesh – no wonder we can’t have our own private jets!
According to a report from Politico:
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been using private jets to fly across America and conduct government business, in a break with his predecessors and at cost of tens of thousands more than commercial travel.
According to internal HHS paperwork, there has been a total of five flights, occurring between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15. The destinations appeared to be official business. At a resort in Maine he had a question and answer session with a health care CEO, and he visited community health centers in two states, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
But why the private jet? His office justifies the travel with bureaucratic ease and turn of phrase:
As part of the HHS mission to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people, Secretary Price travels on occasion outside Washington to meet face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand. When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.
Politico did a complete breakdown and price analysis of available commercial means of transportation that were available within the same time constraints as Price’s private jet transports:
On one leg of the trip — a sprint from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, a distance of 135 miles — there was a commercial flight that departed at roughly the same time: Price’s charter left Dulles at 8:27 a.m., and a United Airlines flight departed for Philadelphia at 8:22 a.m., according to airport records.
So why the private jet? Price is supposedly developing a department-wide plan to implement cost savings and has been an almost constant critic of federal spending, but he won’t even comment on his own excessive expenditures.
One flight Price chartered last week, from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, cost roughly $25,000 — while commercial flights at the same time cost a few hundred, and an Amtrak train just $72.
In an administration that claims to be all about lowering government costs and doing things for the taxpayers, it seems pretty counter-productive to be flying around in private jets when commercial transportation is readily available. Maybe Price should check himself in the mirror before he starts complaining about government expenditures in the future.