Monday, July 25, 2011

Shared Sacrifice (except Congress)

”We should be doing, not what’s right for the party or for the next election, but what’s right for the American people.” So says President Obama. So say Congressmen of both parties today, stalwarts by the names of Schumer and Boehner and McConnell and Reid.

What a flock of phonies! They are all posturing for the cameras, hoping that a few voters will believe they are sincerely fretting about our national debt. The debt, as if you didn’t know, stands at more than 14 trillion dollars. How big is 14 trillion? If you counted one dollar every second, you would still be counting when the only living things on earth were fish. But 14 trillion isn’t enough money, so they are looking for ways of authorizing a higher limit.

Pundits laugh at the bailout of Greece, because everyone knows that Greece doesn’t have a chance of repaying the new loans. Does anyone think the U.S. will ever be able to pay back 14 or 15 trillion dollars? Only when a Big Mac costs $1000.

Speaking of Congress, do you think we really need 435 representatives and 100 senators? That’s 535 highly paid public servants, each with a staff (which does all the heavy lifting), travel allowance, expense account, medical insurance, pension, and God knows what else. One wouldn’t mind if these were the cream of the crop, men and women of obvious intelligence and talent, the kind of people who could run companies in the private sector. But for most of them, politics is their only hope of making a living. If the size of the House of Representatives were cut from 435 members to, say, 200, would we notice? I don’t think so.

It is fashionable for politicians to talk of “shared sacrifice” these days. The poster boys for sacrifice-sharing are hedge-fund managers and people who fly on private jets. But have you heard one syllable about Congressional sacrifice? It would only be a token, of course, but what a token! A member of Congress is entitled to a full pension at age 62 if he or she has five years (!) of service. Who’ll be the first to file a bill dealing with Congressional Pork? Barney Frank? Chuck Schumer?

(Congressman Ron Paul of Texas has always refused to participate in the Congressional pension system, calling it “immoral.”)