Remember when public servants worked for us?

I wonder how the Little People are doing down there?

I wonder how the Little People are doing down there?

Well no, neither do I, but they didn’t used to make it so blatant that we work for them, as they do now. For instance, HHS workers have been routinely upgrading to First Class on their flights about the country and the world, all at our expense, because they deserve it.

Helping America’s poor, aged and sick is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ reason for being, but hundreds of its top officials are traveling in style and luxury at taxpayer expense.

Records obtained by the Washington Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show that HHS executives spent $31 million taking 7,000 first class and business class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips for which a one-way ticket cost more than $15,000.

Half the records listed the price of a coach ticket for comparison. For that portion alone, the upgrade boosted the cost by almost $14 million, from $4.9 million to $18.5 million.

Federal employees are allowed to fly business or first class if the flight is longer than 14 hours, but only 1,400 of the 7,000 flights met that description.

For the vast majority of the flights — 5,100 — the government executives upgraded because they claimed they had a medical disability that necessitated it.

Others cited “exceptional security circumstances,” that no coach tickets were available, that a non-federal source was footing the bill, that first or business class was “required because of agency mission.”

Then-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took 14 first- or business-class trips totaling $56,000, including flights to and within India and from Paris to Vietnam.

The Food and Drug Administration took 2,000 upgraded trips costing $14 million and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took 3,000 trips costing $11 million. The National Institutes of Health took 1,300 such trips costing $3.5 million.

One flight for the Food and Drug Administration from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles , then to Australia and Germany, is listed as costing $26,469.23, with the upgrade because of a medical disability. A flight to Germany cost $23,000 for the same reason. Another FDA staffer spent an extra $10,000 of taxpayer money to fly first class from San Francisco to D.C.

A flight by FDA inspector David Heiar to India cost $30,000. Inspector Robert Horan flew to Hong Kong at a cost of $21,427 when coach would have cost $5,021. Another inspector flew to Australia for $12,344 when coach was $543.

But over 1,000 trips were for conferences, training sessions, speeches and meetings. An additional 1,000 records didn’t have a description of the purpose.

That’s just one of fourteen departments, and the government itself has no idea how many agencies and federal programs it’s running. Not to worry, though; we’ve been assured by no less a Democrat than Nancy Pelosi that “the cupboard is bare, there’s nothing left to cut.”

Something you can remember this April 15th so that you’ll feel better about our government.


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8 responses to “Remember when public servants worked for us?

  1. Al Dente

    Can anyone explain why these people have to travel abroad at all?

  2. Publius


    I think you need to put public servants in quotation marks as in “public servants” because they are only serving themselves, certainly not the public….

  3. Fred2

    Meanwhile back in the private sector – Economy seating, Economy cars, and oh because it’s a LARGE company their travel booking system plays stupid games and forces us peons to fly certain airlines and times, EVEN THOUGH, there are other flights and times that are not appreciably more expensive if you check on Expedia or the like.

  4. Al Dente

    Then you’ll find your servant is your master
    And you’ll be wrapped around my finger