In his apparent zeal to help out a Georgia-based company, Rep. Sanford Bishop reportedly played a large part in the impetus behind the request for Congress to approve the purchase of three luxury jets.

The jets are being bought from Gulfstream and will cost nearly $200 million. The three C-37s will replace aging aircraft and the argument given for the expense was that the new planes would save money by costing only $3,000 per hour to operate vs. $6,000 for the older jets.

The jets are included in the Pentagon’s budget and, not surprisingly, the Pentagon had only requested one, which would be used primarily to ferry high-ranking officials overseas. The additional two jets will be at the disposal of congressional leaders.

Isn’t this the same Congress who berated members of the auto industry for having the audacity to fly on private jets to Washington, D.C., when they were in discussions over bailout money? Isn’t that rather two-faced given the recession that the entire country is facing and the enormous debt which the public has been saddled with? Or are members of Congress exempt from the recession? Perhaps it doesn’t penetrate the plastic bubble that seems to enclose the capital these days.

While it may be admirable that Bishop is trying, in his own way, to stimulate the economy in Georgia, there are perhaps other ways to do so than to purchase luxury jets for congressmen.

That same $200 million would go a long way towards shoring up our public education issues, not to mention the many furlough days that teachers and state officials have been forced to take this year. Our state infrastructure is crumbling in many areas, the DOT seems to be in a perpetual financial crisis, and local governments saddled with cuts in funding have been raising taxes and fees. Citizens are getting hit left and right, with hands going in and out of taxpayer pockets faster than they can earn it.

But we can all rest easy at night knowing that our congressmen will have nice, new luxury jets to fly them on their junkets.

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