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Ever since I was a child, I have wondered why the President of the United States gets to fly around on a modified 747 at everyone else’s expense. Now — thanks to the power of social media and, well, Ricochet — I get to try and do something about it. Below is my Change.org petition to be sent to Hal Rogers and Speaker Ryan. Let’s get some signatures.
The Congress of the United States should immediately cut funding to the Executive Branch for the purpose of operating Air Force One. The nation’s chief executive already occupies a home owned and paid for by the Nation’s taxpayers and has numerous perks that come as part and parcel of that position. Presidents also have access to various facilities not open to the public such as Camp David that are set aside for their recreational use. What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.
The total expenditure at taxpayer expense over the course of these jets’ existence is obscene, and an insult to the people who work and pay taxes.
If the president needs to travel the country, let him take AMTRAK or charter a plane with his own or his campaign’s funds – but not the taxpayers’. With a nation that is approaching $20 trillion in debt, Congress should make this change to let taxpayers know that they and other government officials are not above the law and understand the dire necessity of beginning to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.
Travel for the purpose of statecraft could similarly be accomplished more cheaply through military or domestic charter and should require that Congress pass legislation to authorize that expenditure upon request from the executive branch.