House to cut luxury jet order by 60 percent

Congratulations to those of you who wrote to Congress to protest its bid to buy eight corporate jets for $550 million to sweeten taxpayer-funded vacations. It looks like all the protest over those purchases -- while 6.7 million Americans are without jobs -- may have had some effect. Unfortunately, though, not enough. The Wall Street Journal reports that Congress still wants to buy four new luxury jets for $220 million. Seems Congress still thinks it's fine for taxpayers to pay for its vacations.

A case in point is House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who has been on at least three different sides of this issue. Boehner made a speech this March in which he said that since families were suffering, "it's time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we 'get' it."

As I wrote, small government is good for Boehner -- except when it comes to using taxpayer money to take five other lawmakers around the world this month on a corporate jet, according to the Wall Street Journal. But yesterday, after sensing public anger, Boehner gave a speech that opposed the eight-jet-buy. He's in Mongolia now on his two-week round-the-world taxpayer-funded vacation.

Now, America's Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is supporting the smaller buy, but is she going far enough? Why doesn't Congress simply cancel the entire order? Why can't Congress pay for its own vacations (it spent $6.2 million on such travel in August alone)? Why can't Congress travel on regular airlines the way American citizens do? Doesn't Congress realize that the airlines need the business and the budget deficit is at a record level?

If you believe that Congress should answer these questions, forward this post to your Congress people.

Peter Cohan is president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College. His eighth book isYou Can't Order Change: Lessons from Jim McNerney's Turnaround at Boeing.
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