Taxpayers footing bill for vacations

Freedom New Mexico

It’s bad enough when they pass laws to tell you how to live your life. It’s worse when they tax you to make it harder to live your life. But when the members of Congress run up a tab at your expense for their global, jet-setting junkets on top of it all, it’s enough to make grown voters tea-party inclined.

The Orange County Register reported this week on legislation introduced in Washington to curb luggage-toting, globe-trotting members of Congress, who have the gall to run up tens of thousands of dollars each in “abusive and unnecessary” overseas travel expenses. We like the tag writer Teri Sforza put on the bill: “The STAY-PUT Act of 2010.”

The bill’s author, Illinois Rep. Timothy V. Johnson clearly had a little fun naming it too, officially dubbing his legislation the “Suspending Travel After Years of Pleasure Trips on Unwitting Taxpayers Act.”

But one can laugh only so long at the indulgences so prevalent in Washington, where the federal debt has increased more than $1 trillion in the span of time most Americans may have managed to get one personal vacation trip, if they were lucky.

That’s why it’s the height of conceit for federal lawmakers to enjoy far-flung destinations and to send the bill back home for already over-burdened taxpayers to pay.

“The arrogance shown by many of these so-called public servants borders on the criminal,” declared Rep. Johnson. “What I do not understand is the need for luxury travel, cocktail parties at the Eiffel Tower, the five-star hotels, snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands, all on the taxpayers’ dime.” Neither do we.

These are things that don’t bring the image of public servant to mind. Rep. Johnson used the word “insulting.” We agree. If his bill passes, a moratorium would be placed on further overseas travel until a Government Accountability Office investigation can determine the extent of the problem, and whether the trips are justified.