Published on April 22nd, 2014
In the classic Steve Martin movie, “The Jerk”, character Navin R. Johnson experiences a rags to riches to rags saga. After the loss of his fortune, Navin collects a few remaining belongings from his mansion and says:
…the only thing I need is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. - The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... And this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need... And these matches. - The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball... And this lamp. - The ashtray, this paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp, and that's all I need. And that's all I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one... I need this. - The paddle game and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches for sure. Well what are you looking at? What do you think I'm some kind of a jerk or something!
Well, it seems that politicians are Jerks too. Even though they still have their massive pay and benefits, they apparently seem to need even more.
Congressman Jim Moran has been rightly ridiculed for his statement that members of Congress do not earn enough. As reported in realclearpolitics:
Rank-and-file members of the House and Senate earn a $174,000 annual salary. But according to one veteran lawmaker, it’s not enough for them to live comfortably in Washington, D.C.
“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Rep. Jim Moran… asserted in an interview with Roll Call. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”
The Virginia Democrat called for lawmakers to receive a per diem allowance on top of their current salaries, following the practice of many state legislatures. He said that current salary levels force some members -- particularly those who are not independently wealthy -- to live in “small little apartment units” or out of their offices.
Note that Moran used the typical excuse of the Political Class. He stated that “many state legislatures” have the same benefit. Like children, members of the elite yell, “But, they get it! Why can’t we?” PA legislators did the same thing when they tied their pay directly to Congressional pay including automatic pay raises which do not require a vote anymore. ("But THEY earn more and get automatic pay raises! So should we!")
Luckily, most lawmakers on the committee handling the proposed amendment voted it down. Maybe some common sense is seeping into politicians’ heads and maybe they realize that citizens are extremely angry at the privileges of the Political Class. The committee “quashed” -
Moran’s attempt to increase lawmaker compensation via an amendment to the legislative branch’s 2015 appropriations bill was overwhelmingly rejected in a House Appropriations Committee voice vote on Wednesday.
Maybe many on the House Committee also realized that they are indeed the “board of directors” and that they have bankrupted “the largest economic entity in the world”. How else would you describe $27 trillion of credit card debt and over $90 trillion of future promised obligations? A corporate board of directors would be jailed for fraud and incompetence in the real world.
But it seems in Pennsylvania, we also have “Jerks” and things are so bad that apparently they are homeless. It is so bad that taxpayers
Published on April 21st, 2014
We have covered the antics and corruption at the Delaware River Port Authority here and here. This is just a microcosm of the insanity that prevails in government and among those who think that government really does “invest” in the future.
No, in the end WE the PEOPLE always pay for such investments which rarely, if ever, yields any payback. Instead, such "investments" destroy overall prosperity and WE have to bail out such failed schemes with higher taxes, more debt and most often, with decreased quality of services.
This was the main theme of Ayn Rand’s epic, “Atlas Shrugged”. Government idiocy created situations which harmed overall prosperity and the ability to provide goods and services. Well, here is another real life example as reported by Philly.com:
For years, the Delaware River Port Authority was a celebrated hackatorium that mastered the fast-pork movement, while delaying improvements to its aging infrastructure. (Instead) Almost half a billion dollars fueled powerful politicians' pet "economic-development" projects like stadiums, museums, the Convention Center, and a heliport. PATCO riders and commuters, the very funders of that pork through fares and tolls, often seemed an afterthought.
… PATCO has become, to quote commuter William McLaughlin, "an unmitigated disaster."
The 14-mile transit system has been plagued by smoke billowing into cars, lengthy delays, and repeated engine breakdowns, including in tunnels and on the Ben Franklin Bridge, where only one track is in operation half the week. There have been 55 engine breakdowns during the first six weeks of this year, more than half of all last year's malfunctions.
To enter a PATCO station - that is, if the elderly and disabled can make it with busted escalators and elevators already cited by the Federal Transportation Administration - is to enter a dead zone of information...
If a station has a signboard, it informs commuters of the time and date, which they already know, and nothing else, like train delays. There's no cell service in the tunnels, the ones where cars are getting stuck.
…Customer service has been pretty much an oxymoron.
Monday proved the mother lode of disasters. Half of PATCO's 14 elevators were out of service. A woman fainted at the perpetually overcrowded Eighth and Market station, a subterranean pocket of woe, and got caught in a closing door. Trains broke down on the Ben Franklin Bridge during morning and evening commutes. In the evening, passengers had to be evacuated through a tunnel from smoke-filled cars. It seems only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt…
The once-flush DRPA is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for those "economic-development" awards. And it is shackled with debt. In December, the former port-of-pork borrowed half a billion dollars to pay for bridge repairs and PATCO car improvements.
Half a billion dollars, you may recall, is almost the amount the DRPA spent in its drunken-sailor days on projects that did nothing to make the trains run safely or on time.”
So, while geniuses in the Political Class were busy “investing” DRPA money, paid by hard-working people with fares and tolls, these morons were not investing in the core function of DRPA – to provide transportation services.
Meanwhile, fares and tolls continue to increase, debt burdens increase, and there will probably be calls for more taxpayers to provide some sort of bailout.
Is it a bit harsh to call those who oversaw DRPA “morons”?
Well, no, because the shoe does indeed fit. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. It is happening at every level of government and until we call most members of the Political Class “morons” when justified, the odds are such things will continue. Humor and embarrassment of such idiots is our best weapon. Those in the Political Class who mismanage basic functions, while profiting from them, should be publicly shamed and humiliated. Merely waiting and hoping for successful criminal prosecutions is not enough anymore. Such idiocy must be exposed at every opportunity and those involved must be shamed and humiliated for engaging in gross negligence and stupidity.
Nor is the problem for all these government entities a "lack of revenue". The problem is an abundance of irresponsibility and idiocy.
Is there any such idiocy in your local government entities? You can bet on it…