cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I happened to catch a bit of Sen. Harry Reid’s plaint yesterday about the need for keeping our Federal employees’ fully funded and he sounded as though they were in danger of mass exiting if this didn’t occur immediately. His tone was that of dire consequences befalling us with continued Republican inaction on a tax increase bill. That ruffled my feathers, but the real impact came this morning as I read a Washington Times editorial titled ‘The Imperial District’. This editorial dealt with the fact that the National Capitol Region of our country is the wealthiest metropolitan area in America; even wealthier than Silicon Valley.
The typical Washington metro household had income of $84,523 in 2010 compared to the national average of $50,046. This statistic must be viewed against the prism of all the people who inhabit this region who are poor, and all who are living on the public dole. The Federal workers averaged a total income in 2010 (including benefits which increased 3%) of $126,369. Median income in our nation, adjusted for inflation, dropped 6.7% between June, 2009 and June, 2011.
The editorial writers used a couple of lines that seemed to really hit the mark:
“Figures like this feed the perception that government personnel are no longer public servants but a self-serving, privileged class.” “Washington, D.C. takes care of itself like imperial Rome looting its provinces. It’s no wonder the barbarians are getting restless.”
There certainly is a perception, justified or not, that our governments have become just what the Times suggested. That seems particularly true when we look to Washington and hear speeches from politicians about how beleaguered our governing class will be if we don’t give them more money. A common theme from newbies, like Sen. Johnson, is how out-of-touch with what we all call the ‘real world’ they find their new associates to be. There is a ‘culture shock’ for people entering that rarified atmosphere just as there is a decided factor of disbelief by the old timers who simply don’t remember what it was like before they came to Washington.
We need a lot more newbies to team up with the remaining old timers who actually still do get it. I don’t think anything significant will change without quite an overhaul of Congress. Even different people in the role of President find themselves shackled by the Congress. I am not defending our current President. I am simply saying it isn’t always 100% that person’s fault; although, we can more easily change that office’s occupant than we can change the Congress in a single national election. And, a President does have veto powers and does have the “bully pulpit”, although that can be grossly overused as we have seen recently.
Indeed, “it is no wonder the barbarians are getting restless”.