Carping about the government wasting taxpayer money is always an easy, satisfying endeavor, whether that carping is grounded in logic or not. People like to complain about high taxes while simultaneously bemoaning their city’s crumbling infrastructure and lousy schools. Here’s a great example involving our favorite topic: cars.
Members of the House of Representatives get to lease cars with taxpayers footing the bill, including maintenance, insurance, registration fees and — God help us — gas. Senators have to pay their own way. Of the 435 representatives in the House, 125 take advantage of this option, and only one owns a hybrid (Democrat Michael McNulty of New York leases a 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid).
Leased vehicles range from a Chevrolet Impala for $219 a month (Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.) to a Lexus LS 460 for $998 per month (Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.).
The purported reason for this fringe benefit is so representatives can travel across their districts to speak to constituents. That’s all well and good, but does Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings really need to respond to constituent concerns in an Infiniti M45?
Furthermore, reading the Times article, it’s surprising how many of the car-leasers are Democrats, and how many of these supposedly environmentally conscious politicians are trekking around in SUVs that get 16 mpg. Some of the offenders include Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush’s Lincoln Navigator (13/18 mpg), Louisiana Democrat Charlie Melancon’s Chevy Tahoe (15/20 mpg), and New York Democrat Edolphus Towns’ Lincoln MKX (16/23 mpg).
What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid? (The New York Times)