“We have got a lot of money to save,” the prime minister told ABC News July 20. “We’ve got a very big budget deficit, so we can’t go spending money on executive planes, sadly.”

–Brit Prime Minister David Cameron, explaining to Bloomberg why he flew commercial on his recent trip to the U.S. 

Cameron, who took the Acela from Washington to New York, flew business class on a British Airways plane. He is cutting back on the use of private planes because of the U. K.’s massive deficit, the largest since World War II. Now, nobody is pretending that Cameron’s flying a normal airplane is going to drastically cut the debt. But common sense-and common decency to the taxpayers-suggests that flying private jets in a time of austerity is a mistake.

Cameron, unlike President Obama, is not the ceremonial head of state. I am not suggesting that President Obama imitate the prime minister. But I have been begging Rep. Boehner to do just that. It is a measure of our loss of a sense of what is appropriate that we no longer expect the Speaker of the House, the putatively more democratic of the two chambers,  to fly planes with the rest of the public.