Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

April 8, 2005

Costly Junket

From the Post:

House Appropriations Committee Republicans have quietly asked the administration or an accounting of its "60 Stops in 60 Days" blitz

...Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, formally asked the Government Accountability Office not only for the cost but also "whether the Bush Administration has crossed the line from education to propaganda."

...A rough calculation of commercial fares for the administration's travels tops $15,000 for the scheduled speakers, but that does not count their entourages.

...the GAO estimated that flying Air Force One cost...$60,250 in today's dollars. So far...$1.8 million.

A C-137C, which the vice president generally travels on, cost...$11,470...[or a total] of $160,580.

Excluding security and aircraft costs, the White House has estimated that staff costs on presidential trips average between $22,000 and $59,000...costs for Bush's 16
Social Security events thus would range from $352,000 to $944,000.

This does not include the security and arrangement costs to the cities he visits.
Adding insult to injury is being socked with the bill and not being allowed to participate.

From Josh Marshall:

Let’s face facts: On the president’s two-month-long Social Security privatization road show, Americans who show any sign that they are not loyal supporters of the president are systematically barred from attending or expelled from his public forums, even if they give no sign that they plan to disrupt the proceedings or act inappropriately in any way.

...these events are taxpayer-funded public forums. So it really amounts to a violation of people’s constitutional rights.

I say Mr. Bush has clearly crossed the line from education to propaganda. His "60 stops in 60 days" is packed with participants who are rehearsed and bused in. Dissenters are barred or ushered out.

It's nothing more than a publicity run to deceive the nation into thinking support for privatization is universal. Compare that to town hall meetings by Republican Senators for their constituents where the voices of dissent are loud and can't be ignored. The difference is stark.

Remember that we the taxpayers are footing the bill for Mr. Bush's expensive selling junket at a time when the national deficit is through the roof and local governments are running on tight budgets.

If you're not outraged, you should be. I certainly am.

posted at 1:50 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
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-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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