The subject line in the e-mail was enough to grab anybody's attention: What would you drive if the taxpayers paid?
Good question. Certainly worth the 15 seconds it took to open the mail.
The subject line was actually the headline on a story from The New York Times about a little-known job perk available to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Every one of them can lease a vehicle (or vehicles, plural) and send the bill to the taxpayers.
For whatever reason -- surely it's not a sense of fiscal responsibility -- U.S. senators may not do the same.
The Times looked primarily at representatives from New York and New Jersey, but it found that, overall, 125 of the 435 U.S. representatives lease vehicles.
That set reader Jim Shields to thinking.
"I wonder if any of North Carolina's members of the House avail themselves of this?" Shields wrote in that e-mail. "Do we need any further evidence government officials view taxpayers as mere ATMs to be tapped to provide for their own luxuries?"
More good questions. Certainly worth making calls to Washington and sending e-mail to the 13 offices of the representatives from North Carolina.