The public trough runneth over

January 11, 2013 chris
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Mr. Gibson, who taught government, was my favorite high school teacher. He blew the trumpet and sounded the alarm to a class of high school seniors. Mr. Gibson was outraged at our national debt, which in turn became my outrage. At the time, national debt was approaching a trillion dollars. He hammered home the fact that it was a debt that our generation and future generations would have to repay. According to the national debt clock, my family’s share is $87,759. Mr. G. was right!

We now are held hostage by many of the same individuals who help create this problem. They cannot come together and compromise and address this problem. I find that situation ironic, because those same people were able to cross party lines for their pay increase, health care plan and retirement benefits. If they are creative enough, many of them find ways to keep the money in their campaign contribution war chest after they leave office. They were able to agree on those money management health care future retirement-related issues, but when it comes to the average household, they haven’t got a clue. It is the modern-day version of the caste system, the have and the have-nots. They might as well say, “Let them eat cake.”

A few years back, our government representatives received a pay increase without a vote being required. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give ourselves a pay increase?  Each member of congress has a choice of 10 health care plans and access to several HMO’s that serve their states. This at a time when the average American is lucky to have a choice of one such plan. For an additional few hundred dollars a month, those representatives can have access to doctors and nurses on standby in offices between the House and Senate chambers. What is a fiscal cliff to us is a speed bump to them.

Meanwhile, our families owe the government $87,759 dollars. Why can’t we all have these benefits, you may ask. To borrow a line from an old Eddie Murphy ice cream bit, “We can’t afford it.” If we were treated like members of congress, we’d go broke. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, last year alone, the taxpayers paid $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents, including postal service employees.

During a time when their approval ratings are low, our government representatives shouldn’t be receiving a pay increase. Who rewards failure? There is no accountability, thus creating the perfect storm, or perfect fiscal cliff. To paraphrase a quote from Frederick Douglass, America doesn’t have a fiscal cliff problem – we have a character problem. Many leaders lack leadership and many of our voters don’t care. Our government representatives shouldn’t be allowed to go home until they fix the problems they were elected to fix. I wish that we held them to the same standards that we hold our college and professional colleges to. Perhaps then we would expect and get better results.        

Either win or go home!