Politics

County Execs Must Travel in Style!

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Extreme Mortman zeroes in–to the extreme!–on a recent Wash Post story about the self-serving delusions of Jack Johnson, the county executive of Maryland's Prince George's County[*]:

In today's Washington Post front-pager on taxpayers in Prince George's County, Maryland, having to foot the bill for politicians' personal credit card expenses, we find this gem of a quote from P.G. County Executive Jack Johnson:

"I always fly business class or first class. I think the people of Prince George's County expect me to. I don't think they expect me to be riding in a seat with four across and I'm in the middle."

Extreme Mortman grew up in Prince George's County, so I speak with some authority when I assert in agreement with Johnson that not only do PG County people not expect their County Executives to be riding in a seat with four across and they're in the middle, we also expect County Executives to enjoy a few free cocktails in the Admiral's Club before boarding. Also, the people of PG County expect County Execs to enjoy in-flight magazines whose crossword puzzles aren't already filled out. And this should go without saying, but we'll state it anyway — PG County Execs should be able to bring aboard four ounces of liquids or gels, not just three ounces like the rest of us.

More here.

If more people knew that county executives existed, they'd be outraged.

[*]: Reworded to correct original typo pointed out in comments re: county name.

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  1. And let me add that when important men such as Jack Johnson is served a blueberry muffin, there should be an EXACT amount of blueberries in every muffin. Not too many. Not too few. An exact amount. In every muffin.

  2. It’s Prince George’s County. If PG residents knew Reason existed, they’d be outraged.

    Instapundit made the same mistake yesterday. What is it about purveyors of libertarian snark that makes them incapable of correctly identifying the location of their ire?

  3. Wait — County Executive is like “mayor” in Maryland. The County Executive of Montgomery County, or of Prince George’s County, is as prominent as the Mayor of Baltimore. These aren’t podunk positions; County Executives tend to run for governor…

  4. to continue from JonSnow, depending on the county, some county execs actually run governments larger than some governors. so it’s not necessarily a trivial position.

    though i’m not quite sure how much business a county exec has outside of their county which would require regular first class airfare.

  5. Aren’t there a lot of people like this in the private sector as well?

  6. Aren’t there a lot of people like this in the private sector as well?

    WTF is your point? Taxes, taken at gunpoint are hardly the same as revenues earned by a company.

  7. Aren’t there a lot of people like this in the private sector as well?

    Yep. Difference is, it’s the private sector. In the private sector, money is typically exchanged voluntarily for something of value. Hard to tell what value Jack Johnson’s First Class seating brings to the people from whom the fare money is taken…

  8. Yep. Difference is, it’s the private sector.

    I guess my point is that if private Boards of Directors routinely ignore this kind of waste, then maybe that is the economically efficient approach to it.

  9. Even amidst the seedy politics of Maryland, PG County is a rather notorious machine, though probably not approaching the sheer absurdity of Baltimore City.

  10. As I’ve moved up the corporate ladder, I’ve noticed that the key to everything is making your waste a small percentage of your operating budget. When people are building you $3M manufacturing facilities, no one cares if you spring for the direct flight and the steak. When you are building 10 of them, no one cares if you go business class and eat lobster off the belly of a hooker. Why? You already saved them $500K when you bid out the project. What’s an additional $20K worth of expenses?

  11. So I guess the economically rational question is:

    What is the county’s budget? If it has a big budget no problem, under the Legate Damar view, because the politicians presumably saved the county a lot of money when they bid out projects using that large budget.

  12. Well, I guess I’ll be voting for his opponent John Jackson next time around.

  13. Well, I guess I’ll be voting for his opponent John Jackson next time around.

    Does he fly coach? Do you even know?

  14. Sam, I don’t think that’s Philip’s point. Jack Johnson’s travel policies goo too far, but John Jackson’s don’t go too far enough.

    If I were registered to vote, I’d send these clowns a message by staying home on election day and dressing up like a clown.

  15. Aren’t there a lot of people like this in the private sector as well?

    Yes, and it’s wrong for them to do so as well, if it’s on the company dime. I personally believe that executives, as part of their fiduciary duty to the shareholders, should travel coach, and upgrades to business or first class should come out of their own pocket. God knows they can afford it, on their hyperinflated salaries.

  16. To hell with them, even if they are some poo-bah. If it’s paid for using tax dollars, then scrimp! Coach for him — he should be glad the constituency doesn’t make him ride Greyhound. I lived in the Bay Area for a while and was disgusted by Willie Brown’s limousine motorcade.

    Screw you politicos, I work under your asses, but I drive a Toyota Corolla.

    /me abusing County network to rant on Reason
    //minimal expense
    ///also reads Fark
    ////slashies!

  17. gaijin,

    “Hard to tell what value Jack Johnson’s First Class seating brings to the people from whom the fare money is taken…”

    How easy is it to tell what value the COO of a publically-traded company brings to his shareholders when he flies first class?

  18. Yep. Difference is, it’s the private sector. In the private sector, money is typically exchanged voluntarily for something of value. Hard to tell what value Jack Johnson’s First Class seating brings to the people from whom the fare money is taken…

    Well, technically, the money belongs to shareholders, not the management. Due to the way boards are setup and the incestuousness of them, shareholders have a snowball’s chance of affecting this.

    WTF is your point? Taxes, taken at gunpoint are hardly the same as revenues earned by a company.

    I’ve noticed that there is a common misconception here that the money belongs to the management of the firm and because it is collected willingly, management can waste it as it wishes. However, the money actually belongs to the shareholders and management is merely their agent. By wasting their money for their own benefit (private jets and the like), executives steal from shareholders. For more info, look up principal-agent problem.

  19. But shareholders can sell their shares and get their money back at any time if they are unhappy with High Living Executive. How exactly do I get my tax “investments” back?

  20. But shareholders can sell their shares and get their money back at any time if they are unhappy with High Living Executive. How exactly do I get my tax “investments” back?

    Because shareholders seldom if ever sell on this basis, that suggests it is not a real problem in the public sector either. Get back to us after you actually sell a stock because one of the executives behaves as the County Executive wants to here. Til then it is tiny violin hour.

  21. But shareholders can sell their shares and get their money back at any time if they are unhappy with High Living Executive. How exactly do I get my tax “investments” back?

    If you’re unhappy with a high living county executive, you can vote out the executive or move to another county. Sure you’ve lost your old tax money, but if your stock underperformed because of High Living Executive you lost that as well.

  22. But you don’t understand, you can’t really vote these people out. This guy will probably be the Governor when Martian OMalley runs for POTUS.

    And I’m not running.

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