Politicians Also Afflicted By Entitlement Syndrome

It’s funny that the story I’ll be referring to comes from AP seeing that they were an important cog in the propaganda machine that catapulted the state back into the eighteenth century.  Oh well… even the most corporate of corporate propaganda machines hits on the truth now and then.

AP investigation: Calif. lawmakers boost staff pay

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Against a backdrop of deep fiscal distress, several California lawmakers rewarded their employees with pay hikes during the first half of the year, an Associated Press review of legislative pay records showed.

At least 87 California Assembly staff members received raises totaling more than $430,000 on an annualized basis, even as the state faced a growing budget deficit that led to furloughs and pay cuts for many other government workers and steep reductions in core services.

I’ve seen this happen at all levels of government in California over the past 6-8 months.  Elected officials from special tax districts, city councils and county supervisors all the way to the fairly useless slugs that inhabit Sacramento today made all these damned speeches about how we needed to buckle down and make sacrifices and lower our expectations yaydayadayada.

We stood and watched them once again sell out the kids, the elderly and the disabled, the poor, the unemployed.  Sell out the state park system to allow private (corporate) development of the properties, refuse to tax the Yacht Party members at rates commensurate with what they took from the the rest of the public… the list or ways in which the “upper class” padded their positions at the expense of the rest of us is endless.

The Legislative Open Records Act allows the Legislature to be far more restrictive in its release of information than other state agencies, which are covered under a separate law, the California Public Records Act.

Both houses of the Legislature refused the AP’s request to make the payroll records available electronically. Details of their spending are not listed in the annual budget the governor signs, as they are for other state agencies and departments, meaning there is no way to cross-check the information the Legislature provides.

And you simply have to assume that there’s some reason for them to hide what they’re doing from the public and it logically follows that the majority of the public would not approve of the goings on.  Otherwise, why would they write a separate law, designed solely to keep the public in the dark about their macninations?

At the same time the Legislature was awarding pay increases, some 200,000 state government employees had been furloughed two days a month, equivalent to a 9 percent pay cut. That has since been increased to three days, or a nearly 15 percent pay cut.

They’ve cut state government to the bone at the actual interface between the state and the people needing services most and then hacked the incomes of those employees left by as much as fifteen percent in a blatant attack on the working class and labor unions.  

And all the while they spewed their bullcrap and tried to claim that it was all necessary for the very survival of the state and that we all had to “play a part” and “put another notch in our belts” or “play the hand we’d been dealt”.  Turns out, playing the hand you’re dealt is a whole lot easier for the ones doing the dealing.

While they were all talking the talk, few of them were even bothering to pretend to walk the walk.  Many if not most of them were quietly either granting themselves raises and/or taking advantage of some corporate style language in their charters or state laws or regulations that provides them with automatic “cost of living” increases no matter how poorly they serve the people.  

Others, as in this case, were granting their own staffs and various appointed department heads and administrators ginormous raises, increases in perks and taxpayer paid junkets to count the fish being caught at some fancy resort or lobby for money to buy million dollar toy train sets.

For any public official to either seek or accept any kind of increase in remuneration during a time when they have brought whatever entity they “serve”… and you have to use that word loosely… to the brink of bankruptcy should be grounds for immediate dismissal or recall, not the same damned reward they would have gotten had they actually DONE the job they’re being paid for.

Of course, they’re simply taking their cue from the private sector which seems to value incompetence, mediocrity and downright graft above all else as long as the margin and the stock price go up.  In that, they’re only exercising the same sense of entitlement their role models and corporate masters in the private sector do.

But we’d better be asking ourselves if we… as a society… can continue to pay these people to do the dirty work for those who are… no matter how many corporate lackeys will deride the term… waging class warfare against us.  If we’re going to continue to blindly go along with whatever the national version of the Yacht Party decides to do to us as a people, we might as well give up the pretense that we have anything to say at all.  Save a few bucks by eliminating the middle man, do away with government altogether and just admit the one percenters are in charge and let them run the country directly.