From High-Flying Journeys to Grounded Reality: The House’s Bold Move on Buttigieg’s Salary

The House of Representatives has approved a measure to slash the $235,600 salary of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to one dollar. Taxpayers might wonder what could prompt the House to take such action.

As we noted last December, Secretary Buttigieg took at least 18 trips on private jets funded by taxpayers, including a trip to Montreal, Canada, to receive an award. The Secretary, who wants more government action to curb carbon emissions, favors the Cessna 560XL Gulfstream IV, which contributes its fair share. 

During a severe supply-chain crisis, Secretary Buttigieg took a two-month “maternity leave” and claimed that supply, demand, and the pandemic caused the crisis. In a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, Buttigieg proclaimed, “The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, ​the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.” The Secretary failed to chart the benefits for those who can’t access electric vehicles, which are still priced higher than gasoline-powered cars. 

As we noted last February, a train carrying vinyl chloride and other chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. People in the area and across the country expected the Transportation Secretary to address the issue at a February 13th National Association of Counties event. Secretary Buttigieg ignored the derailment and instead focused on “diversity” issues. 

“We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, doing the good paying jobs, don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood,” said Buttigieg. The Secretary favors a workforce “that reflects the community,” code for standard-brand diversity dogma. 

As Thomas Sowell has often noted, statistical disparities are the rule, not the exception, in America. Personal differences, effort, and choice account for such disparities, all factors dogmatists might ignore.

What Secretary Buttigieg has actually done to make transportation more efficient and less expensive is not readily apparent. So, if taxpayers are on board with Buttigieg’s salary reduction, it would be hard to blame them. 

Taxpayers can probably think of other federal bureaucrats who deserve the same treatment and entire departments that should be defunded, scaled back, or eliminated entirely. Congress should start with poorly managed departments that waste money, fail to perform their appointed tasks and place undue burdens on the people. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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