You Helped Pay The Tab on a $22,000 Portrait of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack

Or, is it our children who will not only pay for the portrait, but the interest on the loan taken out to pay for it:

It’s not always easy to tell who’s coming or going as the Obama administration starts its second term, but multiple agencies have quietly commissioned artists to paint official portraits of Cabinet secretaries and other top appointees — an expenditure often seen when officials are on the way out the door or already gone.

The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $40,000 on a portrait of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, while a painting of Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley will cost $41,200, according to federal purchasing records. The price tag for a 3-by-4-foot oil portrait of Agriculture Department Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack: $22,500.

All told, the government has paid out at least $180,000 for official portraits since last year, according to a review by The Washington Times of spending records at federal agencies and military offices across government.

Brilliant.

Meanwhile, over at Reason:

Cafe Press, the online retailer of cheap, personalized t-shirts, coffee mugs, and so much more, has written an open letter to the government with a plan for reducing official portrait costs by as much as 99 percent. Read it here. And if you want to buy a Vilsack-emblazoned work jersey – designed par moi! – go here.