While you're cutting back on every expense to find a way to save for retirement, pay for your children's education, and put food on the table, you'll be happy to know that some people are still living large: United States congressmen are livin' it up on the expense account.

The Wall Street Journal
(subscription required) dug through the volumes of expenses charged to the taxpayer-funded accounts of United States congressman. A couple of highlights:
  • Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings spent $24,730 in taxpayer money last year to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus. Let this loser know what you think of his unpatriotic robbery of the American people by emailing him here. He says he doesn't want to receive email from people who are outside of his district, so I suggest calling his offices at (954) 733-2800, (202) 225-1313, (561) 881-9618 -- and emailing your friends and suggesting that they do the same.
  • Rep. Chaka Fattah wasted $22 on a Liz Claiborne cell phone pouch. His staff told the Journal that it was "nothing special" and a standard part of the package for office employees who receive cell phones. but I've seen cell phone pouches at dollar stores. What's wrong with those? Here's an idea: E-mail his office here with a link to a cheaper phone pouch so that they'll have plenty to choose from next time they need something cute to put their phones into.
Congressman Ron Paul, whatever you may think of his politics, is someone to admire on this issue. In 2004, he issued a press release reporting that "For the sixth year in a row, Congressman Ron Paul has returned a substantial portion of his annual office budget to taxpayers. Preliminary reports from the congressional Office of Finance indicate that Paul's office had approximately $210,000 left in its operating account at the end of 2003, a figure representing more than 20% of the annual office budget. By contrast, nearly all federal departments, agencies, and programs spend every last penny (and more) of their yearly budgets."

The Journal reports that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) had about $57,000 remaining in her budget at the end of 2008. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) had $228,000," proving that there is plenty of money in the budget for Congress members. Now would be a good time to cut those allowances and let people spend their own money.

And if you want to lease a Lexus for your Congressman, then more power to you.

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