Is it ugly that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price spent an estimated $1 million on chartered flights after railing against such action while in Congress? Yes. Is it even worse when he said he would pay for “my seat” on these planes? Absolutely. But these serious lapses in judgment are nothing compared to his carefully planned gutting of programs help everything from disease control to immunization to health insurance for the children of the working poor.
The “optics” to which President Trump objects are bad. But certainly worse is what Price has actually planned for the health of the nation. Let’s take a look at some of the draconian proposals from Price and the Trump administration:
• Repeal and replace of Obamacare. Depending on which version—House, fat, skinny, Graham-Cassidy—the repeal and replace escapades would have cost tens of millions of Americans their health insurance. It was Price’s job to be the chief cheerleader for the plans.
• $1.2 billion cut from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including $82 million cut at the center that works on vaccine-preventable diseases.
• $1 billion cut from the National Cancer Institute.
• $838 million in cuts for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
• $575 million in cuts for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
All of these numbers are more egregious than the amount of money a member of Trump’s swamp spent on chartered air travel.
This is not to say that wasting taxpayers’ money on unnecessary means of travel is not worthy of attention. Indeed, other members of the swamp have done exactly the same thing but have not resigned.
One doesn’t have to be a psychologist to figure out the mindset of these “public servants,” They’re entitled, largely rich (Price is worth $14 million; Steve Mnuchin: $300 million; Scott Pruitt: $800,000; Ryan Zinke: $700,000) white guys who think commercial travel is for suckers. These are guys who will be in a dramatically better personal financial position under the Trump tax cuts proposal.
But that’s a story for another (coming fast) day.