Do As We Say, Not As We Do

A Gulfstream V corporate jet carrying Nike employees flies over Hillsboro airport as it burns off fuel in Hillsboro, Ore., Monday, Nov. 21, 2005. The plane developed landing gear problems shortly after leaving suburban Hillsboro airport on Monday and it may be forced to make an emergency landing, officials said.
When the leaders of the big three automakers flew to Washington in their private planes last year to ask for a federal bailout, Congress was not amused.

Lines of Capitol lawmakers heading for the microphones to denounce the auto executives got longer than the lines at airport metal detectors.

Even the automakers, who are hardly the role models when it comes to making swift decisions, quickly figured out they had stepped in it. They sold the planes.

What did Congress figure out form all that? Apparently, that taxpayers needed to buy more planes to haul THEM around.

This is one of those stories where about here we have to insert the words "I'm not kidding," but the House has approved spending a half-billion dollars to enlarge the fleet of Air Force planes that hauls members of Congress and officials of the federal government around.

Some of this is no doubt justified. The Air Force wants two planes to replace planes that are wearing out, and it wants to buy two aircraft that it is currently leasing.

But the House wants to buy four more planes that the Pentagon says it doesn't need or even want. It's Congress that wants them to meet its own growing travel needs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that House members spent 3,000 days overseas at taxpayer expense last year - that's nearly four times as many days they spent overseas 10 years ago - at a cost of $13 million, which is a ten-fold increase since 1995.

Nothing much surprises me any more, but when I read this stuff, I always wonder: Do they think no one will find out, or is it they just don't care?