Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Taxpayers to foot entire bill for Cheney's appearance at McGavick fundraiser

Here's a question for fellow progressive activists: When was the last time you heard a so-called "fiscal conservative" pontificating that government is wasting our money, that we'll be better off with smaller government, and that cutting taxes and reducing our budgets is necessary and good?

Probably, not very long ago.

But as every progressive knows, the Bush administration has never put into practice the ideas of "fiscal conservatism". Instead, the administration has continually rewarded corporate friends with giveaways, subsidies, and tax breaks. (Can anyone say, "CHA-CHING"?)

It's also, of course, run up huge deficits. And it's wasted a colossal amount of taxpayer money, all while continuing to cut revenues.

The administration, to fiscal conservatives' dismay, has become the ultimate example of inefficiency and financial mismanagement.

Take the Vice President's upcoming trip to Spokane to raise money for Mike McGavick. Cheney certainly isn't coming out here on government business, yet the entire cost of his trip, (which is to further the political prospects of the Republican Party by raising money), is being paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

Here's the cost projection for Cheney's visit:
Flight operating costs for Air Force 2 (round trip): $174,624

Number of White House Staffers: 10
Average daily salary (65,000-150,000 annual) $462.96
Total White House staffer costs: $4629.63

Number of Secret Service agents: 20
Average daily salary ($100,000 annual): $370
Total Secret Service Costs: $7,400

Approximate hours of local security (including rehearsal): 8 hours
Number of local security personnel: 30 police officers
Average hourly salary ($52,120 annual): $26.50
Total local security personnel costs: $6360

Number of cars in motorcade: 8 cars
Miles traveled (roundtrip): 23.72 miles
Total gas costs of motorcade (doubled to account rehearsal): $65.78
Total Security Costs: $18,455.41

Isn't this an example of government waste? Shouldn't the McGavick campaign be reimbursing taxpayers for the cost of the trip? Wouldn't that be the right thing for a responsible Republican candidate who's against waste to do?

Republicans don't seem to believe in the values they preach. The McGavick campaign apparently has no problem with letting taxpayers pay for the expense of bringing Cheney out here to raise big bucks for McGavick's bid to unseat Maria Cantwell. But looking back at (Lobbyist) Mike's history at Safeco, it's probably not surprising.

We don't need another Republican in the U.S. Senate who will continue to vote for the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Bush administration. We need a Senator who will stand up and fight waste, corruption, and corporate welfare. We need to reelect Maria Cantwell.

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