Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recession empathy: Congress buys itself three luxury jets for $200 million -- the better to keep the little people informed

Exterior and interior of the elite Gulfstream 550 business jet

They cost $65 million apiece, and Congress is buying three of them at a cost of some $200 million of the taxpayers' money in the midst of the worst recession in a generation. The Air Force, which flies government aircraft, put in for one of these luxurious babies, but somewhere in the murky innards of the House Appropriations Committee, that was quietly bumped up to three -- the better to keep many more poobahs of Congress flying off to junkets or just reaching out with a bit of empathy for the little people back home.

Here is some of what the manufacturer, Gulfstream, says about this nifty private airplane:

The Gulfstream G550® large-cabin, ultra-long range business jet turned heads right from the start.


This is a brawny aircraft with an international reach...With its long legs, the G550 easily links Washington, D.C., with Dubai, London with Singapore and Tokyo with Paris.


The cabin aboard the G550 combines productivity with exceptional comfort. It features up to four distinct living areas, three temperature zones, a choice of 12 floor plan configurations with seating for up to 18 passengers. Maintaining contact with the home office is easy thanks to a host of standard communication features: a fax machine, a printer, a wireless local area network and satellite communications. As an option, consider Gulfstream's Broad Band Multi Link, which combines fast Internet-connection speeds with low operating costs.
Ah, what sacrifices have to be made to serve the public!
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