Bing Blog

Fly commercial, pampered Congressmen!

Air Force One

There's a big brouhaha this morning over the new planes the House just voted for "senior lawmakers." The Obama Administration requested an upgrade on four new aircraft to replace those that are no longer up-to-date. The House tacked on four more at a cost of $550 million. Now serious legislators and publicity hounds on both sides of the Senate aisle are clawing to get to the front of the line opposing new additional planes as an obvious example of clueless and intemperate waste.

Personally, I understand why the President needs a brand-new plane every couple of years. I saw Air Force One with Harrison Ford. The fate of the free world hung in the balance and I can only imagine what would have happened if the plane in question was a clunker. But you have to really ask, why do Congressmen need private conveyance from one place to another?

The Journal gives some of the rationale, about how they go everywhere, how their trips, particularly during the month of August, when they would otherwise be taking up vast expanses of sand somewhere, help to inform them and shape subsequent opinion and so on and so forth. And I agree with that, too. Our representatives should be all over the globe, fact-finding, making things happen, representing our nation in the hot spots of the world. But why can't they fly commercial?

I'm not saying they should fly Coach. And probably it would make sense for them to get some kind of priority in the whole reservation mess. You don't want a big politico having to wait six weeks to get a Business Class seat on his way to Bosnia or Sri Lanka or someplace. We the People would probably have to make some concessions. But why shouldn't our elected representatives have to get themselves around in pretty much the same fashion as we do?

If they did, you can bet your bottom dollar, if you have one, that our entire transportation system would get a big upgrade, and not with all deliberate speed, either.

45 Comments Add Comment

I think the politicos should be reimbursed at the economy class rate.....if they want to upgrade then its on their dime. I speak from first hand experience as a veteran corporate flyer - my company won't even pay for a $49 bump into UAL's "economy plus" seats. Corporate jets have gone the way of the dinosaur and I think congressional jets should do the same. AirForce One? Sure make it the latest and greatest - I saw that movie, too.

yes, yes, and yes! Wonderful! Bravo! Yes!

I think it's funny that Congress gave the auto company execs such a hard time for flying on private planes, when they knew it was corporate policy that the execs basically had to, and now it comes out that they're forcing the military to buy more planes they like to borrow and keep them in the most convenient place possible for them. It makes all their grandstanding at hearings more and more silly.

Sitting next to a congressman for 6 to 12 hours on an international flight would be a nightmare. I shudder at the thought.

$550 million is a small price to pay to avoid such an encounter. I am all for the new planes, as long as they are US-made.

On a side-note, Chicagoans got an upclose look at Marine 1 and it's twins a few weeks back when they parked them in our lakefront park next to Lakeshore Drive (the president was in town for a one-night fundraiser). They are truly impressive machines.

Bid the trips on Priceline.

Another example of a congress that is out of conrol. I hope voters remember this in the next election

Here's a proposal to congress: You requested $500 million for the new planes (which STILL require over $3,000/hour to operate)will you settle for $100 million in VOUCHERS?

The congressional members could use these vouchers to STIMULATE US Airways, Continental, Southwest, JetBlue, etc.

ADVANTAGES:

1. The elected officials would finally spend some time with those they are supposed to represent

2. These vouchers get turned into the governmental travel office and made public record so we, the taxpayers who pay for them, can see WHERE out officials are travelling on OUR dime.

3. The airlines would have more passengers so it would put more people back to work

4. Since more elected officials would be flying business the airles service would likely improve so they wouldn't be on Congress's S*** list.

DISADVANTAGES:

I might actually have to sit next to one of these windbags for over 2 hours on my next flight.

They do not fly commercial because they truly believe that they are better than the rest of us. They forget who they work for. They also believe that they money the expend is theirs and not ours.

What's good for the goose (us) is
good for the gander (them).

I think you are onto something, Bing. I don't like buying planes that I will never get to fly on.

There would be other benefits. While these guys and gals from Congress are standing in line at security, we won't have to worry about them making up new laws.

Just one suggestion - When they fly off to a far-away land, can we buy them a one-way ticket?

Your comments are right on Bing.
Weren't these the clowns who publicly chastized the Auto executives for flying down on private jets to beg for bailouts. I have new for the lawmakers - you also suckle off my taxpayers nipple and I'm telling you right now its starting to get sore.....
I dont care if you fly first or business, just fly commercial.
As our elected representatives I want to see them share our pain. Flying first class isnt exactly painful but I will settle for that. Lose the private jets or lose your jobs when you come up for re-election

They should use commercial transportation, have similar health care (we should only cover 75% of their insurance not including spouse and children), and they should depend on the same social security / medicare retirement (not life time benefits)

Come on......give them a darn bicycle, 2 water bottles and a few energy bars and let them tough it out like the rest of us. Perhaps this will give them a taste of the real world and an appreciation of our daily lives. If they must fly, then rap them in bubble rap and stick these fragile souls in the hold!

I don't think our ruling class would subject themselves to such a lowly form of transportation.

When we aquired General Motors, didn't we get the cushy private jets the execs flew to Washington to tell how broke they were?

Ron Paul does. He should teach an ethics class in DC. Maybe a class about fiscal responsibility too.

I have always taken offense to officials using our tax dollars to fly themselves all over. My reasoning follows some simple logic... first, they should experience the system they currently have in place that everyone else has to fly, maybe the FAA would finally upgrade the system if some legislators were forced to use it. Second, it is a colossal waste of funds even when compared to first class. The Airlines would be more than happy to accommodate, in every sense of the word, their legislators. It would probably trickle down to the rest of us as well. Overall I’m actually fine with the jets purchase for international affairs and other pressing needs, but they should not be provided a ride to their home, or in some cases their kid’s ball game (see Mark Sanford in South Carolina for reference here) when there is no pressing national need.

Congress certainly bad mouthed the auto execs for their airplanes,why are they any better?

The idea that our Congressmen cannot fly commercial just shows us how out of touch they are with the rest of the country. First class and business class is apprently not good enough for them. When I win next November against Barney Frank, I will be flying commercial, and I will also be driving myself around. The idea that our congress members need a personal driver is equally as absurd.

In as much as the executive branch has responsibility for foreign affairs, why do our congressmen even need to go out of the country. Perhaps they should spend some time in this country and see if they can get it going in the right direction.

If people want to make a change, instead of blogging or complaining in public, get yourself and your community out there and vote them out of office. Put in people who care about change and doing the right thing for the people they represent.

Sadly they just scream security, blah blah. They should fly private, supports our country, and how many senators, and congress people could travel vs. the costs of 1 private jet & fuel. Plus they should have a BUDGET "such a dirty word" after the budget depletes, funds come from their pockets for travel.

I think WAY to many people have it just a little too good on our dime. Yet meanwhile the F22 advanced fighter jet is to expensive to protect our country.

WOW.

Yes, and they should be forced talk politics with the people on their left and right during the entire trip - probably more duscussion per trip than they currently engage in during the course of a month!

I agree! and to think of how these jagoffs would be helping the ailing airline industry by purchasing those expensive first class tickets to fly all over the world. that alone, given that benefit to the sour economy, should be mandatory until we stabilize, if not indefinetely.

I absolutely agree with your comments. One of the things that helped kill off GM is that its top corporate officers never had to go to a dealership to buy a car and never had to take their car in for servicing. All of those nasty things were done for them as one of their many perks. As a result, they never had to experience how unpleasant the car buying experience really is and how poorly built their cars were. Congress, likewise, needs to experience for itself how the products it makes (our laws) work in the real world.

Weren't these same members of Congress recently criticizing the auto CEOs for flying in on their corporate jets? The action taken by the House to vote for its own corporate jets is astoundingly hypocritical.

Congress needs to be "of the people, by the people and for the people" and right now that is not what we have.

This is a complete waste of money and another example of wasteful government spending. This money could be used in school systems that are having difficulty making ends meet.

LMAO! Please, is there anyone who hasn't figured out we have a feudal system in America today? The Lords, wealthy politicians and business execs get fatter by leaps and bounds as prospects for the pions, the rest of us, go down the drain.

Besides, if you were a senator/congressman, would you want to get anywhere near the masses you've been shafting with these "bailouts" and porkulus packages? They might get tossed at 35,000 feet without a parachute.

Look at it this way, at least the guys in the aircraft factory are busy.

Making the leadership live like the little people would definitely change the system. Akin to making the auto company execs buy a car at retail and putting up with the dealer experience rather than getting freebies.

I agree. And your last point, at the bottom, is perhaps the most important aspect of this:

Take one U.S. Senator, who sits on a committee that regulates air travel. Have the TSA treat him like dirt, and sneeringly confiscate his 3.001-ounce deodorant. Lock this senator into a small commuter plane overnight, with no toilet, as happened to a planeload of non-U.S.-Senators yesterday at the Rochester, MN airport.

This is the only way to get the Congress to pay attention to how awful air travel has become.

Bing,

Like everyone else in the world, their time is too precious to fly commercial. Private jets are going the way of the Dodo. As airlines scramble for new revenue, private areas in commercial airliners are coming and even corporations won’t be able to say no...

Bing have you found the one topic no one wants to touch with that ten foot pole, or maybe no one cares about. I suppose that when you travel as much as they do you wouldnt want to hinder the general population by taking a few seats from flights every month or so. being in the military i know we usually travel on our own planes because lets face it, there are alot of us all the time but ours are anything but highclass top of the line. we have to pay for our own nuts and everything.

Fly Commercial???
Our supreme rulers???
Oh no, having to sit with REGULAR people. Absolutely not. Pelosi, Reid and Company shouldn't have to mix with the common folk. I think they should each be given their own aircraft, pilot, and crew just like the illustrious "O" man. Of course, they would have to be smaller versions so that they wouldn't be seen as attempting to be equal to our King.

We should get the military to fly them around. They could all pile into a C130, and be dropped off at their respective districts ... and when I say "dropped", I do mean "dropped."

STAND IN THE DOOR !!!!

Absolutely.

If the security is of concern, then what does that say about us?

Not only would the transportation system improve if our representatives had to consistently take public flights, imagine the improvement to the tax code if we required our representatives to do their own tax returns!

Yes,,let's spend a lot and get the best and fastest planes for these people,,,I'm pretty sure there are thousands of people out there who are on food stamps and need jobs..waiting for these politicians to do something constructive...so the quicker these politicians can get to work ,,the faster this mess will be fixed..

It's harder for them to @$%& things up when they're isolated. Maybe this is the best idea, lock them away on their own.

Right on !!!

Hey Bing. Where are the comments? I can't believe WE are all quiet.

Princess Pelosi just calls the US Airforce for one their jets when she needs her frequent BOTOX touch ups in San Francisco.

Don't all charitable organizations have their own private jets?

a clear example of the vast separation between those who should be working for the people and the people.

John in NJ makes a great point. I would welcome sitting next to these guys. You certainly can't reach them any other way.

For domestic travel I'd provide them with annual passes for Greyhound (and its subsidaries); that way they'd really get to meet their constituents up 'close and personal'.

Why not ask your Congressman if he's flying to Europe this holiday season to visit "Wounded Warriors"? We have 23 of them flying out next week to visit the veteran's at Ramstein, but they're also going to Venice and London...last time I checked there wasn't a military hospital in VENICE! OH...and because it's a four day weekend for Thanksgiving, the military people are being forced to give up their family time and come to work because they need a one hour "brief" to justify coming...during the rest of the day they'll be going to the Famous Christmas Markets! And my tax dollars are paying for it.

RELATED THINGS