Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Politicians Must Suffer

politicians, public servants, service,

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.

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politicians, public servants, service,


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  1. Drifter says:

    Not true of all. My state Legislators (Utah) are not paid, meet for 45 days a year and then go home.

  2. Huapakechi says:

    I’ve thought on the “quality” of our elected officials and have come to the conclusion that rather than elections we should institute a draft lottery.

  3. Brian Wright says:

    New Hampshire has a volunteer legislature and town hall traditions for local government. Yet, still the power insiders manage to turn a good share of the politicians and media in the Free State into lackeys. Corruption in the US is rampant, especially in the criminal injustice system, and it will get worse until collapse… until and unless the people restore their authority via independent, ubiquitous grand juries to investigate and indict gross official misconduct.

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    Drawing lots is not a bad idea at all. It would certainly keep government closer to and more representative of the people.

    Per Utah, they are indeed paid a salary. Moreover, they can qualify for a pension.

    Per New Hampshire, not only is the pay of legislators low — $100 a year, though they receive more lucrative per diems — but more importantly, each state rep represents on average only 3,000 people. This ratio between the representative and those represented is absolutely critical. This is why NH is the best legislature in the nation. Though, admittedly, it is no utopia.

    It’s also why California — with 500,000 people per state assembly distrocts and 1M people per senate districts — is the worst legilsature in the nation.

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