By Greg Acuna
In one of the latest Washington scandals, the General Services Administration (GSA) held an $823,000 conference here in the Las Vegas area that included a $31,000 reception, a mind reader and a clown. It was celebrated with a rap song and now Congressional hearings. The song was done on a shoe-string budget, but one has to wonder how much the hearings are costing us. Not that I condone decadent waste and debauchery in the name of public service, but in my opinion, excess and self-indulgent behavior seem to be integral parts of the political scene.
Daily, we hear about how much money each of the presidential candidates have raised. Our vocabulary has been expanded with special words like PACs, Super PACs, 501C4s and Joint Fundraising Committees. In the last election, President Obama raised around 750,000,000. That’s right — about three quarters of a billion dollars. This election is all set to break the 2008 records for fundraising. I’m sorry, but to me, it sounds too much like all you need is money to buy an election.
Of course, some of the fundraising entities are supposed to operate independently, but that is a farce. They know who is getting the money and where it is coming from. When it comes time to have a say in what the government is doing, who do you think gets heard? Is it Mr. and Mrs. Smith from Homeville, USA or is it the wealthiest of the wealthy? I think we all know whose desires are watched out for up and down the hallways of power. Campaign finance reform and getting corporations and lobbyists out of politics is the only way to give voice back to the people.
One of the things I have a hard time understanding is why politicians in Washington D.C. make over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, plus major benefits, and soldiers make barely enough to support a family around the poverty line. They put their lives on the line fighting for the causes the politicos decide are worth sacrificing young lives for, but they’re treated like second-class citizens.
Okay, I have an idea: Why not cut the pay of everyone in the government so that they are making the median income of the rest of the country? Even better, let’s make the formula: all income minus the top ten percent and then let’s see if politicians start working for the working man.
Year after year, we hear of new scandals. Sometimes it’s the defense department paying exorbitant prices for readily available goods or on projects that go over budget by huge percentages. There are governors being indicted and convicted. There are sex scandals with interns and cell phones. The list goes on and on, and those are only the ones that come to light. There are many more crimes, unseen and unheard, in government.
Seems like it is time to end the rule of professional politicians and put “service” back into public service. I don’t know. What do you think?
Greg Acuna can be reached at [email protected] His novel “Revolution American Style” is available at www.RevolutionAmericanStyle.com or on Amazon.Com.