Give Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal credit for doing the right thing sooner rather than later.
Jindal acted faster than, say, former Governor Gray Davis of California. In 2003, Davis tripled California’s car tax, provoking widespread anger. Finally, Davis agreed it should be repealed . . . but only after voters were about to recall him. Voters weren’t mollified, and Davis was duly ousted.
In Louisiana, the scam didn’t touch taxpayers’ wallets so directly. As symbolism, though, it bit painfully enough. Out of the blue, legislators more than doubled their salaries. The hike would have taken effect in the same session. Governor Jindal had promised to veto any such pay raise. But he flip-flopped. He claimed a veto would make it harder to work with lawmakers, harder to achieve necessary reforms.
Voters vociferously reminded the governor that lawmakers’ abuse of power is one of the things that needs reforming. Many demanded a recall. At first, Jindal stuck to his guns. Then he reversed his reversal and agreed to veto the pay hike. Many lawmakers also changed their minds about the raise.
The moral, I think, is that we citizens must remain engaged in public affairs even after the polls close. Otherwise, it’s too easy for even well-intentioned leaders to succumb to politics as usual. Too often, we elect a decent soul and then just go about our own lives – as he enters the lion’s den alone.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.