The Wall Street Journal reports that when lawmakers receive per-diem money for official travel, it’s typical for them to pocket the leftover cash instead of returning it to the Treasury—that, or they spend it on gifts and souvenirs:
When lawmakers travel overseas on official business they are given up to $250 a day in taxpayer funds to cover meals and expenses. Congressional rules say they must return any leftover cash to the government.
They usually don’t.
…”There’s a tacit understanding that if lawmakers don’t spend the money, they get to keep it,” said Rep. Sue Kelly, a New York Republican who was defeated in 2006.
…Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) said he once bought marble goblets in the Kabul airport as gifts for constituents. Rep. Mark Souder (R., Ind.) said he dipped into his funds to buy a $200 painting of an estuary in Turkey, which hung in his office for a while and was now in his house.
This is not a lot of money when you consider the trillions of dollars that make up the federal budget. But the concept that it might be innapropriate to spend taxpayer money for personal reasons seems to be completely lost on our elected officials.
And here’s the real kicker: When asked about taxpayer money he uses for non-official purposes, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla) replied, “I’m a generous spirit and a courteous spirit. I stand accused.”
Yes, Mr. Hastings, it certainly is easy to be generous when you’re spending other people’s money.
We all know the government is spending freely…. but do we really understand how much? Can we truly put things into proportion? I hope this video helps do just that.
H/T: Jason Pye
Dr. Paul, once again, outlines the real culprits of the current economic crisis, and points to the real solutions- less government, lower taxes, decreased spending, the end of devaluing the dollar.
H/T: Matt Chancey
Quotes from Andrew Malcolm’s take on this video:
Here’s how silly Ron Paul is: He set a budget for his campaign and lived within it. Flew commercial.In fact, he ended with no deficit, which is how he thinks the federal government should operate. In point of fact, Paul ended his campaign with a surplus. Can you imagine anything so silly in this day and age?
Paul warned all during his campaign about a looming economic disaster if government just kept growing and growing and printing more money like Republicans and Democrats wanted.
Dr. Paul discusses the spending bill and the credibility of the Republican Pary with Bill Maher, and argues that regulation and spending has created this crisis, not the free market.
House Minority Whips, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, put together a quick, fun little video about the recently passed spendulous package.
Peter Schiff explains that we need to stimulate savings and production that the stimulus bill well depress that, making the situation worse. A severe recession is the price that must be paid for years of reckless borrowing and spending.
This is a great video follow up to the full-page ad CATO published listing hundreds of economists who don’t believe that a “stimulus package” is the best option for American taxpayers.
In this video, Dr. Paul cuts to the chase by pointing out that Obama is really making an argument for more and bigger government, while attempting to camouflage it behind fanciful (perhaps one could say “Orwellian”) rhetoric.