While the amount of money wasted is relatively small compared to the bloated overall bloated Federal budget, as former Senator Everett Dirksen once said: "A billion dollars here, a billions dollars there, and pretty soon you are talking about some real money."
In order to save trillions of dollars of unnecessary spending by the political class, you first have to start saving thousands which eventually becomes saving millions which eventually becomes saving some real money, billions, which eventually becomes saving trillions.
This is especially true when you consider how useless these Congressional expenses are in light of the following numbers and facts, brought to you by a recent investigation done by Inside Edition (http://www.insideedition.com/news/8119/inside-edition-investigates-congressional-cars.aspx):
- The typical Congressman in the House Of Representatives earns about $170,000 a year in salary, placing every one of them well within the upper 5% of wage earners in the country. Bottom line: they can afford to lease their own vehicles with their own money.
- The Senate does not have a similar program of taxpayers subsidizing autos for their members, Senators use their own funds and own vehicles. Bottom line: if Senators do not get free transportation from the taxpayer and seem to do okay without such a program, even though they have to cover the geography of a whole state, not the much smaller geography of a Congressional district, members in the House certainly do not need a free car program.
- Consider Gregory Meeks a Democratic Congressman from New York. He drives a luxury Lexus 450 Hybrid, a taxpayer funded lease that goes for $1,289.40 a month. This results in the taxpayer shelling out $15,374 a year. Bottom line: according torecent United States Census data, (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0690.pdf), the taxpayer funded lease for this one car is greater than the household income of 13% of American households, about 15 million households. Talk about bad priorities, one unnecessary luxury car lease with more value than a year's earnings of so many American households.
- The really sad thing about this program is that Meeks is not the only Congressional driver whose annual lease cost is greater than the annual income of so many Americans. Bottom line: even if the program was essential, which it is not, for Congressional people to get around their districts, good sense should dictate that driving around in Lexus, Lincoln, and other high cost autos is totally unnecessary from a basic transportation perspective and blatantly egotistical on behalf of these supposed public servants.
- If you add up the monthly lease costs of 82 examples of taxpayer leased cars identified by the Inside Edition report, you find that the American taxpayer is on the hook for almost $700,000 a year for this unnecessary program. If you throw in the down payments of some of the leases and the taxpayer-funded gasoline that goes into these autos every year, it is probably a very safe bet that more than $832,000 a year is incurred each year by this program. Bottom line: when the GSA wastes $832,000 ONCE on a Las Vegas party, Congress goes into a rage even though it wastes at least $832,000 every YEAR on auto leases.
The longer term solution is the implementation of Step 39 from "Love My Country, Loathe My Government." This step would install term limits on all Federal politicians, "one and done." Current Washington politicians continue to prove that they are out of touch with reality, budget constraints, and struggling Americans. If you car lease is greater than the household income of 13% of America, you are out of touch. You are also expendable.
The following data comes from the Inside Edition website (http://www.insideedition.com/news/8119/inside-edition-investigates-congressional-cars.aspx) which recently did an investigative journalism piece on this wasteful government program.
Members of the House Of Representatives who lease tax payer-funded vehicles.
Source: Statement of Disbursements – House of Representatives – 4th Quarter 2011
44 Democrats and 38 Republicans.
Representative State Monthly Payment Additional information
1. Dan Burton – Rep. (two leases) Indiana $600 + $684.78 Leases two vehicles
2. Mary Bono Mack – Rep. California $682.94
3. Rodney Alexander – Rep. Louisiana $167.99 Includes a $20,000 down payment
4. Xavier Becerra – Dem. California $271.80
5. Adam Schiff – Dem. California $489.24
6. Adrian Smith – Rep. Nebraska $692.52 Includes a $7,554.24 down payment
7. Al Green – Dem. Texas $436.89
8. André Carson – Dem. Indiana ***payment amount varies from $657.99 to $748.65 per month
9. Anna Eshoo – Dem. California $389.60
10. Barbara Lee – Dem. California $898.55
11. Bill Flores – Rep. Texas $455.55
12. Bill Johnson – Rep. Ohio $370.13
13. Bill Shuster – Rep. Pennsylvania $392.00
14. Bobby Rush – Dem. Illinois $1,027.53
15. Brad Miller – Dem. North Carolina $431.87
16. Chip Cravaack – Rep. Minnesota $1,008.22
17. Cliff Stearns – Rep. Florida $789.25
18. Collin Peterson – Dem. Minnesota $362 + $290.00 Leases two vehicles
19. Cory Gardner – Rep. Colorado $910.80
20. Dana Rohrabacher – Rep. California $918.63
21. David Dreier – Rep. California $598.92
22. David Scott – Dem. Georgia $519.40
23. Dennis Rehberg – Rep. Montana $499 + $799.00 Leases two vehicles
24. Don Young – Rep. Alaska $748.73
25. Donald Manzullo – Rep. Illinois $619.19
26. Ed Pastor – Dem. Arizona $294.33
27. Edolphus Towns – Dem. New York $1,285.06
28. Edward Royce – Rep. California $509.98
29. Eleanor Holmes Norton – Dem. D.C. $807.55
30. Emanuel Cleaver – Dem. Missouri $1,900.00 Lease is for mobile office used in district
31. George Miller – Dem. California $520.10
32. Gregory Meeks – Dem. New York $1,289.40
33. Gus Bilirakis – Rep. Florida $449.60
34. Heath Shuler – Dem. North Carolina $485.31
35. Hank Johnson Jr. – Dem. Georgia $725.79
36. Henry Cuellar – Dem. Texas $594.28
37. Howard Berman – Dem. California $382.78
38. Howard “Buck” McKeon – Rep. California $662.83
39. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Rep. California $479.86
40. James Clyburn – Dem. South Carolina $1,139.26
41. Jim McDermott – Dem. Washington $346.46
42. Joe Baca – Dem. California $732.86
43. Joe Barton – Rep. Texas $998.89
44. Joe Donnelly – Dem. Indiana $450.00
45. John Abney Culberson – Rep. Texas $880.00
46. John Conyers Jr. – Dem. Michigan $1,251.66
47. John Garamendi – Dem. California $910.82
48. John Lewis – Dem. Georgia $578.21
49. John Carter – Rep. Texas $880.96
50. John Sullivan – Rep. Oklahoma $258.30
51. José Serrano – Dem. New York $485.31
52. Kenny Marchant – Rep. Texas $899.67
53. Kevin McCarthy – Rep. California $716.25
54. Laura Richardson – Dem. California $852.96
55. Linda Sanchez – Dem. California $861.87
56. Louie Gohmert – Rep. Texas $466.40
57. Lynn Woolsey – Dem. California $647.97
58. Mario Diaz-Balart – Rep. Florida $722.02
59. Melvin Watt – Dem. North Carolina $431.81
60. Michael Simpson – Rep. Idaho $698.13
61. Michael Michaud – Dem. Maine $795.00
62. Mike Coffman – Rep. Colorado $671.51
63. Mike McIntyre – Dem. North Carolina $430.82
64. Mike Pence – Rep. Indiana $282.68
65. Mike Pompeo – Rep. Kansas $486.00
66. Mike Ross – Dem. Arkansas $851.28
67. Nick Rahall – Dem. West Virginia $671.41
68. Pedro Pierluisi – Dem. Puerto Rico $1,400.00
69. Peter Welch – Dem. Vermont $425.68
70. Phil Gingrey – Rep. Georgia $470.88
71. Randy Neugebauer – Rep. Texas $333.33
72. Raul Grijalva – Dem. Arizona $709.28
73. Sam Johnson – Rep. Texas $758.65
74. Sean Duffy – Rep. Wisconsin $1,350.00 Lease is for mobile office used in district
75. Sheila Jackson Lee – Dem. Texas $751.99
76. Silvestre Reyes – Dem. Texas $655.46
77. Steve Womack – Rep. Arkansas $565.61
78. Steven LaTourette – Rep. Ohio $502.24
79. Theodore “Ted” Deutch – Dem. Florida $301.17
80. Wally Herger – Rep. California $650.00
81. William “Lacy” Clay Jr. – Dem. Missouri $779.08
82. William Keating – Dem. Massachusetts $968.85
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