Some reform proposals are so modest they have scant hope of passing. Why? Because the people who pass the bills are so immodest.
Congressional egos would be severely bruised if Representative Michael McCaul’s proposal were enacted. His bill would prohibit lawmakers from erecting monuments to themselves glorifying the fact that they have dedicated huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to the erecting of monuments to themselves.
McCaul says that these “monuments to me” are emblems of arrogance and “contribute to both political corruption and excessive spending.” Such contributions are prolific.
Remember Senator Robert C. Byrd (1917-2010), “serving” in Washington for more than half a century? Well, the construction industry in West Virginia sure does. Wikipedia devotes an entire entry just to listing the buildings and transportation and other projects named after the self-aggrandizing Senator Byrd. He was always eager to lug as much pork to his state as he could, and most of it is stamped with his immortal cognomen. There’s even a Robert C. Byrd highway to nowhere. A Wall Street Journal article by William McGurn gives a laundry list of other sites named after congressmen alive and in office when their names got slapped on.
The ban should be enacted. Even if this reform is small and symbolic, the abuse it addresses is real. And McCaul wants to know: “If we can’t do the little, obvious things, how are the people going to trust us on the big ones?”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.