The sacrifice for you and me

Of course Tom Price shouldn’t have to fly coach!

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price testifies on Capitol Hill in June. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Opinion writer, The Washington Post, September 27 at 6:06 PM

For Tom Price, the price is right.

The fake-news media is attacking our hard-working secretary of health and human services. First, those losers at Politico reported that Price took $60,000 in charter flights, including a $25,000 flight to Philadelphia, apparently at taxpayer expense. Politico pointed out that a train to and from Philly cost $72.

The clear implication: Price is not worth the additional $24,928 of taxpayer money. Wrong!

Sure, a train would have gotten him there nearly as quickly. But we can’t have the nation’s top health official risking an unhygienic Amtrak bathroom.

Now, Politico is reporting that Price took a government-funded private jet to a resort in Georgia where he owns land, and to Nashville, where his son lives. As if there’s something wrong with this.

It’s impossible for Price to fly commercial, because that could expose him to the unwashed masses — and nobody wants a repeat of what happened in West Virginia when a reporter had to be arrested for asking Price a question. Also, as one of the lower net-worth individuals in President Trump’s Cabinet (only $14 million, so little he can’t afford to dye his eyebrows gray to match the rest of his hair), Price needs the subsidized travel, just as he needed to enhance his meager congressional pay by trading stocks of health-care companies that had interests in legislation he pushed.

The persecution of Trump officials by the media does not stop with Price. They carp about Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin trying to use a government plane for his European honeymoon and flying on a government plane with his wife to Kentucky on solar-eclipse day. They natter about EPA chief Scott Pruitt securing round-the-clock security for himself as he shrinks the rest of the agency and having a $25,000 soundproof booth built in his office. (The noise of fired bureaucrats cleaning out desks can be quite distracting.) They moan about Trump officials using their offices to promote Ivanka Trump’s shoes and Mnuchin’s “Lego Batman” movie. They whine about the hundreds of millions of dollars being paid to Trump properties by foreign countries, the Pentagon, the Secret Service and more.

The critics just don’t get it. For America to dream big, its leaders must live large. Rich people are the smartest people, and to lure the best into government service, you have to entice them — with more riches. Besides, after Mnuchin gets Trump’s tax cut through Congress, all Americans will be able to afford charter planes.

It is time that we drain the swamp of “watchdogs” at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Send those namby-pambies back to Nambia.

Few appreciate the sacrifice these public servants make. “Dude U have no idea!” Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb wrote in an email to a restaurateur who was worried about losing his health insurance. “I walked away from $4 million annually to do this, had to sell my entire retirement account for major capital losses.”

The horror! This is why I’m not worried about Trump officials taking taxpayer-funded gratuities.

I have no objection to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos being guarded by U.S. marshals for an extra $1 million a month or so. With grizzly bears attacking public schools, it’s only a matter of time before they go after her.

I think the EPA’s inspector general should mind his own business and stop probing those government-funded trips that took Pruitt home to Oklahoma for 43 days over three months.

I’m not troubled by Trump White House official Christopher Liddell meeting with CEOs of 18 companies in his personal stock portfolio.

I don’t believe it’s anybody’s business that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was getting money from Russia.

I don’t lose sleep over Jared Kushner’s family using his Trump ties to lure Chinese real estate investors.

I’m okay with China granting copyrights to Ivanka’s fashion brand on the same day the Chinese and American presidents dined.

I don’t care if Trump releases his tax returns; or if he divests himself of his businesses; or if he touts his properties during official appearances; or if federal political committees spend lavishly at the Trump properties; or if Trump’s administration is paying Trump’s businesses for space at his properties; or if foreign powers splurge at D.C.’s Trump International, leased to Trump by the federal government.

I’m with Mnuchin’s wife, actress Louise Linton, who posted a social media photo of her getting off a military jet. Her caption noted her Hermès scarf, Tom Ford sunglasses and Valentino shoes. When one taxpayer complained, Linton shot back: “Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband?”


It is high time we held government to a lower standard.


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