Ah Politicians…. why do you keep disappointing us? Just when we think you are smart and have our best interests at heart, you do something really stupid and selfish.
Case in point…. the Congressman from my district, Brian Baird, a politician I voted for and have always admired, is now under fire for a fact finding trip he and ten members of Congress took to investigate global warming. The group visited a research site in The South Pole, then made a stop at the Great Barrier Reef to do a little diving. Then they took a number of side trips around Australia, probably to see if global warming was having an impact on the quality of Australian beer. Baird is an experienced diver, and he personally took three dives to check out the coral beds. And the tab to the taxpayers – somewhere north of $500,000.
Of course, that’s $500,000 for ten people, so the trip only cost about $50,000 per person. Now that might not sound like much of a bargain to the many Americans who opted for a “staycation” this year, because they only had a budget of $50 for the entire family. But Baird defends the expense, saying “I know not all congressional travel is justified. As for this trip I feel the knowledge we gained was absolutely essential”. Does that knowledge include how to throw a shrimp on the barbi from forty feet while dancing the limbo with a Mai Tai in your left hand?
The money issue aside, the ten high flyers took a private government jet for the escapade. There is something inately wrong about flying around the world in a private jet to look into the dangers of global warming. It’s kind of like injecting yourself with heroin to investigate the drug problem. Congressman Baird, next time please call me when you want to see some signs of global warming. I would be happy to take you and your friends on a hike into the Washington Cascades and show you what is happening in your own district. I won’t charge you, and afterwards you can even take a swim in my pond. Feel free to bring your scuba gear!