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Friday, August 01, 2008

A Little Excessive, No?

Uncle Sam has a few cars. A few care too many, perhaps.
Americans love their cars, and so apparently does Uncle Sam. He's got 642,233 of them.

Operating those vehicles — maintenance, leases, and fuel — cost taxpayers a whopping $3.4 billion last year, according to General Services Administration data obtained and analyzed by the Associated Press.

...Add to that the cost of drivers, a perk given to high-level government officials.

... The government owns or leases sedans, SUVs, trucks, limousines, and ambulances for more than three dozen agencies, the American military, and the Postal Service. Are they all really necessary?

"This is one bleeding part of a budget and not just in one department but in a lot of departments," Senator Grassley, a Republican of Iowa and longtime foe of what he considers wasteful federal spending, said. "When you have something bleeding like this, there can be a lot of money saved."

Only a handful of agencies said they have conducted annual audits to ensure their fleets are the right size. All agencies are supposed to report their annual fleet numbers to the General Services Administration. However, the cost and inventory estimates in the GSA's annual report do not include Congress, which isn't required to report to GSA on its fleet.
If your job requires you to drive around a lot (mail carriers, for instance), then you should have an appropriate vehicle. If your job entitles you to have Secret Service protection, then the vehicles just make sense. Drivers? Only for those with Secret Service protection.

We could balance the budget, if we just gave it half a chance and ignored the whiners. I'm not holding my breath.

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