I know I have asked, and I am sure others have. I pay all these taxes to support the government, so how come I’m not getting a good return? Where is the government I paid for? Worry no longer. At last we are getting the government we paid for. And paid for. And paid for. Did I mention we are paying for it?
Rather than do all the research on my own, I have pulled from Hulu streaming video, in this case from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir to get the high-level view and also these screen shots. And the story is one to warm my heart. Here is the gist.
Candidate Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to voters that once in office he would “drain the swamp.” He would kick out the long-time hangers on, career government workers who have sucked at the government tit for decades and have become entrenched. He would bring in a fresh crew, people accustomed to turning a profit. And he has. From all appearances President Trump has recruited a cadre from big business accustomed to doing big things. Apparently also accustomed to living big. As the story running on ABC yesterday tells it, these high fliers from business are now flying high on the government payroll. To illustrate:
Scott Pruitt, now heading up the Environmental Protection Agency, celebrates the exuberance of government employment by accumulating a history of lavish travel. Last June travel expenses for him and his entourage recorded $90,000 in expenses, and that included first class travel from Washington to New York. Yesterday he was observed flying first class from Washington to Boston, apparently on the government nickel.
Who would have thought it? Prior to entering politics in Oklahoma, Pruitt was in private law practice, where he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from gas companies, still leaving him with a worth estimated at no more than $3 million, which sets him apart from some of the billionaires in the Trump administration. Where he acquired his taste for high living is anybody’s guess. Apparently free money can be enticing, as evidenced by more.
Needing to get to Rome (the EPA needs to check out the horrible air pollution in that burg), he reportedly commandeered a military aircraft to get to New York to catch his overseas flight.
New York to Rome, where he dropped in to see the Pope, was a boon to taxpayers, as he spent only $7000 to fly, albeit considerably more than I am accustomed to pay.
Mr. Pruitt is also recorded as flying first class to Morocco, hopefully on EPA business.
At first sight this may give the appearance that Director Pruitt, having entering the sacred halls of government, has run amok, making a spectacle of his lavish travel style. Prepare to be disabused, because Pruitt is in good company. ABC News lists a number of top government staffers vying for spending champion of the year. Those would also include:
Putting those others aside, it is interesting to wonder at Mr. Pruitt’s trajectory as the new EPA chief. His history is one of opposition to the purpose and goals of the EPA, and his term as head of the organization leaves little indication that the environment holds his highest esteem. We can wonder whether his bold plan includes spending the agency’s budget dry to ensure it’s not wasted on water quality and all that other stuff. I’m feeling my pocket getting lighter already.