Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Robin Hayes: Raging Hypocrite

We don't have to travel too far in the way back machine to find examples of Robin Hayes' hypocrisy. Actually, there are so many stops on the Robin Hayes Hypocrisy Trail it is hard to choose which one to visit first. How about we start here - "Congressman Backs Alternative Fuel". Follow this link to find out what I thought of it at the time.

For those of you who don't want to follow the links, in May 2006, Congressman Robin Hayes sponsored legislation that would have given a tax break to those distributors who installed pumps for E85 at their gas stations. He promoted the legislation with a stunt at one of only seven gas stations in the state of North Carolina that sells E85. In my post, I pointed out the fact that after almost eight years in congress, Hayes had failed to nurture any substantial legislation through the process. I doubted he would succeed this time. I was right.

My charge that the publicity stunt was just for show was dead on. Robin Hayes might have discovered (at the pump that very day according to the N&O) that his Chevy Suburban was suited to running on E85, but the Beechcraft he sometimes flies into Washington......that baby runs on jet fuel. *

How much jet fuel?

After a basic search I couldn't find the model of Beechcraft Hayes owns, but based on when it was purchased and the amount of the loan, I'm assuming it is a medium class jet since many of the light jets had not been approved at the time of purchase. Let's assume he purchased a Beechcraft Baron G58. The price is about $1,200,000 as of May 2006 and Hayes' loan listed on his financials is between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000. According to this comparison, a Baron G58 costs about $335 per flight hour to operate. If Hayes purchased the Beechcraft King Air 690GT for close to $3,000,000 then his per hour operating cost more than doubles.

In other words, Robin Hayes, the self-professed champion of energy independence spends on each flight to Washington, D.C. more than many families spend on gasoline each month.

Take a second for that to sink in, folks.

Congressman Robin Hayes is just an energy independence poseur. He talks the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk he doesn't bother to haul his carcass to his feet long enough to take the first step.

That's not the only bit of hypocrisy at this stop on the trail.

Both the Wall Street Journal and the Raleigh News & Observer reported that new ethics rules were going to put a crimp in Hayes' style. Apparently, the rules written to prevent members of congress from accepting flights on corporate jets also prevent them from "boarding any non-governmental airplane that is not licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate for compensation or hire," unless they are headed to a fundraiser. Prior to the new rules members of congress could use their own jets for their weekly commute and they were reimbursed at taxpayer expense.

That's right. We pay for the congressional commute. Reasonable people understand that commuting is necessary for an elected official to do the job. They are required to stay in touch with their district while doing the nation's business. However, there are other less expensive methods of travel. Traveling by car, train or commercial jet might take a bit longer, but the savings to those of us who pay the bills is significant. According to this site a special government rate could be obtained by members of Congress that represents a huge savings to taxpayers.

My understanding is that travel expenses are reimbursed from the budget each member of congress is allotted in order to run his or her office. Imagine how much less our tax bill would be if exorbitant luxury expenses like personal jet fuel costs were limited or eliminated completely. Instead of watching out for the taxpayer, Congressman Robin Hayes, has decided to fight for his right to fly himself to Washington and keep us footing the bill for his personal jet fuel costs - at least according to the N&O piece linked above. That's right, he wants us to pay for his luxury commute to Washington.

Then again, if we aren't paying for him to fly around in his jet, we're paying for him to cruise around in his land yacht at 16 miles per gallon. I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned Robin Hayes - the millionaire who rails against death taxes - has become too much of a tax liability.

Thank you for joining us for today's trip down the Robin Hayes Hypocrisy Trail. Please make sure all trays are secured and all seats are returned to their upright position.

* Without knowing the actual type of aircraft, I don't know exactly what type of fuel. A medium class jet burns about 280 gallons of fuel per hour and a light class about 180 gallons of fuel according to this chart at Helium Report. This is substantially more than Hayes' Suburban would burn and substantially more than would be burned for his portion of a commercial flight. Currently E85 is being developed for aviation use, but according to this report from 2005, jets are not yet being manufactured to use the fuel. I have not found anything more current to indicate this has changed.

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