Biz Beat [Opinion]: All the president's men
A few strange stories made the headlines today, things that, at the very least, the Obama administration needs to explain.
The Social Security Administration is holding a $700,000 conference this week at the swanky Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. Who's paying? Taxpayers like you and me. Adding insult to injury, this is the same Social Security Administration that perpetually says it's running out of money, instilling fears in all Americans that we'll get nothing after paying into the system all these years. Well, now we know where $700,000 of our money went.
Wasn't this the same government that condemned the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for flying their private jets to a meeting in Washington? And they threw a fit, rightfully so, when bailed-out AIG executives enjoyed a $440,000 spa retreat last fall. Do the rules not apply to the government? At the very least, we deserve an explanation.
Next, a USA Today report shows some disturbing numbers in the allocation of stimulus funds. According to the newspaper, counties that voted for Obama in 2008 are receiving double the money as counties that voted for Republican Sen. John McCain. It's $69 per person in blue counties, $34 per person in red. Some contend the president is trying to buy votes. It may very well be a coincidence but, again, an explanation is in order.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) has introduced a bill in the U.S. House to strip Obama's czars of all funding until the Senate is able to confirm them. There are currently 32 czars and counting, overseeing various things, from the auto bailout and the stimulus law to the Great Lakes. Combined, they are in charge of more than a trillion dollars.
Obama appointed them. They are accountable to no one, least of which our elected representatives in Congress. U.S. taxpayers are paying the czars' salaries and stocking the funds they allocate, but the czars don't answer to us. Just to Obama. And for that, we need an explanation, too.
On the face, none of these reports are good for the president. At the very least, he's going to spend a lot of time answering questions about these issues, taking time away from promoting his agenda. Maybe there's a perfectly good explanation for all of it. But we need the explanation.