Politicians make us suffer. Isn’t turnabout fair play?
No. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And equal suffering is not a worthwhile goal.
Nonetheless, politicians do indeed need to “suffer” — by which I mean to bear a serious and sobering cost for their service in pubic office, to view their relationship with power through the lens of sacrifice . . . not as cashing-in.
Like every other decent person, I’ve always been offended by midnight pay raises and the myriad sneaky, sleazy ways that our so-called servants enrich themselves at our expense. But, until recently, I considered politicians being over-compensated as a symptom of the problem and not a big problem in and of itself.
Now I’m convinced that lavish pay, pensions and other benefits for city councilmen, state legislators and congressmen constitute a serious problem. It breeds bad behavior when politicians line their own pockets — and laugh their way into retirement.
But even without the tricks, when our representatives receive too many treats for their, ahem, “service,” they tend not to serve us very well.
Some contend that compensation must be “competitive” to attract the best and the brightest. But with rare exceptions, we’re not getting those folks to run for office. Instead of enticing successful people or those committed enough to public service to accept less lucrative pay, we’re getting folks who see public office as their path to success — personal financial success.
One cannot serve two masters. If our representatives are in it for their own benefits, as opposed to making a sacrifice for the greater good . . . well, we wind up with government like we have now.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.