Texas senators spend more than almost any other senators do on their office operations:
All told, Cruz’s office spent $3.8 million in taxpayer funds from April 2013 through March 2014 on salaries, office equipment and travel to and from the state.
Fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn wasn’t far behind – his Senate office spent more than $3.7 million in the same period, while Cornyn’s minority whip leadership office gave out more than $800,000 in salaries.
All expenditures were funded by U.S. Treasury money derived from taxpayers – a small irony since both Cornyn and Cruz are leading advocates of reducing the size of government.
On a list of all 100 senators compiled by the Washington Post and ordered by amount of office expense, Cruz and Cornyn take spots four and five, respectively. Only Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., spent more. The average Senate office total, according to the Washington Post’s analysis, is about $2.5 million.
The Houston Chronicle article above, along with just about every other person talking about this study, snorts at the “small irony” of critics of government spending being government spendthrifts.
That, however, buys into the very narrative Sen. Cruz, Grover Norquist, and others on the radical, nativist right want us to believe—that we should value reduced government spending across the board, no matter what.
The point we should be making is that Sen. Cruz and others are very willing to spend more money when it serves their purpose. Cruz wants to have an effective office, so he invests in it, and he doesn’t stint. We can assume from these numbers that he pays his staff well. He’s willing to spend marginally more money for them to stay at the Stephen F. Austin instead of Motel 6. He lets them travel between DC and home more often, perhaps. He knows that spending this money is the best way to show his staff they are appreciated, and that treating them well garners loyalty and probably makes them more productive.
The radical nativist right spends money where it counts to get the results it wants, and it doesn’t nickel and dime itself. The Koch brothers don’t just give a few thousand dollars here and there. The Heritage Foundation had $25M more in assets at the end of 2012 than it did at the end of 2011; during 2012, their salary line item increased by $2.5M. These institutions have invested big bucks for the long haul because they know that’s what it takes to achieve their goals.
That’s the story here. Sen. Cruz and Sen. Cornyn want to cut government spending execpt the government spending that make their offices more effective. They deprive our state of a chance at success by choking off federal dollars that we could be investing in infrastructure, education, and preventive health care. They claim not liking pork is a reason to starve us all.
I don’t care what they spend on their offices. I just wish they were willing to make the same investment in Texans.