TCS Daily


Inequality and Excess

By Arnold Kling - April 7, 2008 12:00 AM

"Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a cabinet-level poverty czar"
--The New York Times, April 5, 2008
"Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton earned a combined $109 million between 2000 and 2007...In 2007 alone, former President Clinton earned more than $10 million in speaking fees."
--The New York Times, April 4, 2008

I think of myself as wealthy and successful. For about 15 years, I earned a good salary. Then, I started an Internet business, which I was fortunate enough to sell in 1999, before the Internet bubble popped. I think of myself as basically retired, although I teach as a volunteer at a local high school.

But Bill Clinton made more than twice as much in one year as I made my entire life. To me, that seems excessive. I do not understand how somebody could be driven to keep making money once you already have so much. I don't understand what drives superstar entertainers, CEO's, investment bankers, and others to earn their exorbitant incomes.

But the point of this essay is not to berate rich people. Instead of harping about American excess in terms of incomes, I want to focus on American excess in terms of political power. As unseemly as it is for America's wealthiest people to strive for more money, America's political class is far worse. They have a ridiculous excess of power, and yet they only want more.

Richer than Warren Buffett

Montgomery County, Maryland, has an annual budget of $3.8 billion. This sum is under the control of a County Council with nine members. On an average per-politician basis, each County Council member controls just over $400 million a year in spending.

To put an annual spending figure of $400 million in perspective, consider this: if you had $8 billion in assets and earned 5 percent per year on those assets, that would give you $400 million in annual income. And few Americans have that much. The world's wealthiest person is Warren Buffett, with $62 billion (admittedly he has often been able to earn more than 5 percent per year from investments). Bill Gates has $58 billion. Fewer than 40 Americans have more than $8 billion in assets, and their names are largely familiar to us--the Waltons of Wal-Mart, Sergie Brin and Larry Page of Google, and so on.

Can you name the members of the County Council in Montgomery County, Maryland? I can't name very many of them, and I live there. Still, getting elected to the County Council in Montogmery County, which is pretty far down the ladder in terms of political power in the United States, enables you to control more annual spending than the wealth of Donald Trump or Steven Jobs.

At the Federal level, the Budget is $3 trillion. If you divide that by 535 (the number of of Senators and Congressmen), then on average each legislator controls over $5 billion in spending per year. That is more than even the world's richest person could spend annually.

Wealth and Power

At this point, you may be thinking that this is not a valid comparison. It is misleading to compare legislative budgets with the wealth of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, because legislators are spending money on all of us. They are not spending money on themselves.

However, America's wealthiest people do not spend their money on themselves, either. They could not possibly do so. As smart as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are, they cannot figure out how to spend all of their money. They will end up giving most of it away.

What the super-wealthy have that the merely wealthy do not have is more financial power. When it comes to deciding which causes are going to receive money, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have more power than other people. Which is exactly the power that politicians have.

Thus, the comparison between legislators and the super-rich is actually quite apt. Both are able to exert an unusually large level of control over which worthy causes receive money. Financially, wealthy people and politicians have the same type of power. The difference is that politicians have much, much more of it, by orders of magnitude.

Additional Power

The monetary comparisons only scratch the surface of the inequality and excesses of political power in the United States. Bill Gates might be said to control as much money as a member of the County Council where I live. But he does not have the power to, say, tell the people of the County where they can and cannot smoke, or to tell local businesses what wages they must pay their workers, or to decide whether a local concert venue will be devoted to folk music or to rock.

Wealthy people do not control the curriculum in our children's schools. Politicians do. Wealthy people do not set licensing requirements for everything from doctors to interior designers to hair stylists to manicurists. Politicians do.

Inequality and excess political power is getting worse at a faster rate than inequality and excess in monetary income. As I pointed out in We Need 250 states, political power is far more concentrated and insulated from the voters than was the case 200 years ago.

I feel awkward and defensive when the subject of economic inequality comes up. The fact is that I cannot say that I feel comfortable with the levels of inequality and excess that exist in our society.

However, I am loathe to call inequality a problem that requires a government solution. I do not see how it solves the problem to take power away from wealthy people who have a lot of it in order to increase the power of politicians who have far more of it.

What the American people really should feel awkward and defensive about is the level of inequality and excess of political power. Instead of asking ourselves what we can do about Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, we should be asking ourselves about what we can do about the Clintons and the Spitzers. Those who want more and more power should be our biggest concern.

[note: an earlier version contained an arithmetic error. I apologize for the error--AK]

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277 Comments

Why do politicians want more power?
There are two basic answers to this question.

The first type of politician is using his time in Washington in order to enrich himself. The more power he has, the more bargaining power he has for those who want to use that power on their behalf, or for those who are willing to pay him to not use that power to their detriment.

The second type of politician actually believes that he can use that power to benefit people, to perfect society. Every time he sees a problem, he immeadiately thinks to himself, if only I had more power, I could solve that problem. This type of politician is totally blind to the damage that he does while trying to perfect society. To him, only intentions matter. He cares, therefore he is doing good. Anyone who says differently just doesn't care about people.

Of the two, I would much rather have the first in power. There is an end to their greed, and once it is sated, they are willing to let the rest of us live our lives unmolested. As to the good doers, there is never an end to the problems that more govt power can solve.

Strangely enough, those who go into govt as do gooders, also manage to enrich themselves in the process. As much, if not more than those who's only goal was to enrich themselves.

I think a better question to ask is; why do ordinary mortals WANT GOVAGs' to have more power?
That would be very revealing.

Why some are rich.
Because they are good at what they do and people pay them for it.

Tiger Woods is well compensated, but I don't believe he plays golf to get rich.

I would much prefer to have hundreds of 'filthy' rich people like Gates or Buffet or even Turner or the likes of Carnegie or that rich Irish guy who just gave away all his money, than one poor politician with too much state power.

The rich cannot not use the power of the state to make me do anything. They must still persuade.

In addition, the rich can donate their wealth to those they deem worthy, not those politically connected.

easy, they are lazy
Not in their work ethic (though there is some of that too) but in their thinking. They want the government to slove all their problems so they can go through life free of responsibilities. They want the govenrment to take care of them, their kids and all their needs. (It's for the children!)

Unfortunately this type of thinking is actually more prevalent among people of means (upper middle class to wealthy) than it is among the middle-class and poor. the difference is that they want the government to handle things for the poor and help everyone get the things they can't, or don't want to, afford themselves.

While some programs are useful and some regulation is needed, excess is the rule of the day it seems. There are certainly a whole lot of folks who want the excess to grow so they can get their from the government as well.

old debates
We've debated which regulations and programs are usefull, since I doubt either of us has changed our positions, rehasing that will be of no use.

It is the nature of all govt programs to grow. Beaurocratic prestige is based on the number of employees they have, and the size of their budget.

Solving the problem they were hired to solve, would result in downsizing their dept. Therefore it is in their best interest to never allow their problem to be solved. Indeed, it must be seen to grow. If it can be portrayed to the media as an immediate crisis that's all to the better.
Private charities suffer from this same problem (witness Sierra Club and any number of bogus crisis they have pushed in the last few decades.) The big difference is that when Sierra Club sends me a letter asking for money, I can throw it in the trash. It's a lot harder to do that with the IRS.

It going to be awful hard to demonstrate that any govt program outperformed the private sector in solving problems. Especially the problems of poverty.

so thats why you're a republican
You'd rather have leaders interested in their own greed and enriching themselves than have any potential to do whats best for the people. BTW, government action, ie. more government power, IS NOT whats best for the people.

I'm just teasing. But you know, there is a little truth to it too. Don't be a fool, there is no end to greed, there is always more to be had. There is no satisfaction to greed.

I think your dichotomy is pretty accurate to reality. There might just be those 2 types of politicians that exist today. Thats a big point, thats why we need change, its why we must break the status quo. All you've done is define the status quo and picked your least distasteful. Its what voters do in practically every federal election.

I'd pick your second type as ideal, except not a politician that wants to "perfect society". Not a politician who believes "only intentions matter". And not a polician who gets defensive and accusatory when challenged. He/she should do good, and challenge it every step of the way to reinforce its purpose and effect, otherwise change when the action doesn't align with the purpose and effect. If he/she can't self-challenge, then a close surrogate should be there to provide that balance. In other words, I want Abe Lincoln. Not George W Bush, not Bill Clinton.

If you want status quo, so be it, you're free to make that choice. I think its evident in the broader struggle conservatives are enduring right now. You're in the dark ages Mark, your post is indicative of it, same old strawman, you're not even to the point of breaking the status quo, you're just trying to find your footing, which is perplexing since your guy has been in power for 8 years.

Taking Charge...A National Referendum
“…then on average each legislator controls over $5 billion in spending per year.”

A National Referendum process would enable millions of “citizen legislators”, thus diluting the “power” of our current 535 legislators. At the very least, the capacity of direct citizen initiated legislative action would be a check-and-balance in the process.

If our economy grows indefinitely, the number of Federal legislators stays the same and the percentage of GDP taxed remains constant [more than likely it will increase in the near future], then the “power” of each legislator will continue to increase. Soon it might cost 500 million to be elected to Congress…all dollars with no strings attached…of course.

Given the ever increasing capabilities of communications technologies, the time appears to be now for citizens to take on an expanded legislative role. The ultimate fullfillment of the promise of Government "by the people" is the replacement of proxy government with direct government.

Math
5% of $80 billion is $4 billion, not $400 million.

bad arithmetic
yup, I messed that up. I submitted a corrected version.

You have the power, now.
1. Vote against every incumbent every time.

2. Acquit everyone for arrested and tried under a bad law. (Fully informed jury, jury nullification)

One possible answer...
Back at the beginning of the 20th Century, people were more self-reliant. They didn't squander their money...they made do with what they had. As a rule, they had larger families that looked after one another. They didn't want handouts. They didn't want people running interference for them. In an extreme situation, they might have turned to their church for help.

Attitudes began to change with the baby boomers. Their parents wanted a better life for their children; but the excesses the parents heaped upon them only served to create a sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, this mindset backfired on the parents. Instead of raising their children to become self-sufficient adults, they raised overgrown kids who either continued to lean on their parents or else turned to a government that was in the process of creating entitlement programs.

Enter the goverment as surrogate parent.

Joanie

Changes to his ideas.
I like his ideas. I'm not too keen on election by state legislators. Senators are fine - that was originally in the constitution, but representatives should be elected directly by the people. Someone has mentioned the idea before about electing a larger body of representatives say, one for every, 250,000 people - that means 1,200 representatives right now.

I'm not too keen about assigning an aseptic nature of what should be a state or town. I think there should be minimum/maximum geographical restrictions on what can be a state. For example, the Greater Los Angeles area, San Diego Area, the Newark-New York City-southwest Connecticut-Long Island area could be states, but Horth and South Dakota would have to split into four states to meet the maximum state limits.

I think it is important to keep regional identity instead of splitting cities to have state lines.

bobjones projects his own inadequacies upon everything he reads
I quite clearly stated that given the choice between the two, I would pick the politician who was greedy. I did not say given a choice of any kind of hypothetical politician.

Your attempts to smear are as usual, only smearing yourself.

Point two. There is no such thing as an honest politician.
Point three. If you want crooks, you really need to be looking in your own party.

Finally, I'm not surprised that you want to use govt to force everyone to live by your own ideals.

Exactly on the same page
I agree completely with this post. That is the biggest trap of government agnecies. And, as you pointed out, even private programs.

A very good answer
But incomplete. Sadly this attitude dates further back; certainly to the Great Depression and possibly to beginning of the 20th century.

De-Centralize the Federal Government
Montgomery County, Maryland has a population of 932,131 citizens which means the County Council member controls $4076 per citizen he or she represents. The Federal Budget is $3 Trillion and the population is about 300 million; that means that the U.S. Congressman controls about $10,000 per citizen. About 60% of Federal Spending is Domestic; meaning that it is spent Locally but unequally distributed across the 435 Congressional districts with more money controlled by the most senior representatives (and their staff). At least the County Council member has better information on the problems of Montgomery County than the Congressman, so why does the Congressman control more per citizen than the Local representative.

It’s time to decentralize the Federal government and put the power back in reach of the citizens through the U.S. Congressman, with each receiving control over the per capita share of the Federal budget for their district. The average Congressional district has about 690,000 people; 1 in 690,000 odds is still better than 1 in 300 million odds.

Washington, D.C. has not provided a once size fits all solution for all 300 million citizens on any issue and never will. By moving per capita control of spending to the Congressman you would also bring responsibility and accountability for that spending within your reach and out of the control of the current two parties.

Flip the Government with just one finger.

Thanx,

Kevin

Redundant terms.
A federal government is supposed to be decentralized.

Read the Constitution.

Nice out-of-the-box thinking
Only Switzerland, I believe, comes closest to the ideal means of decentralizing power.

The best and easiest means of doing making progress on this front here would be repealing the 16th Amendment. That won't help the poor snots living in Montgomery County, Maryland. But it sure would help those of us living in states with net outflows of federal tax dollars.

Yeah, I guess it was a bit incomplete...
I considered starting with the New Deal; but I was just thinking about the combination of prosperity AND new entitlements; i.e. G.I. Bill, thereby making it easier to spoil one's kids.

Joanie

Typical Left Wing Hypocrisy
Asking the Clintons not to attempt to coverup their apparent emotional deficiencies with laser-like pursuits of wealth and power would be like expecting a scorpion not to sting, its what they do. We shouldn't be terribly surprised.

What is revealing is that the left-wing press that found it so unsettling when other Presidents (Ford, Bush41), parlayed their office into speaking honoraria and corporate board appointments speak of this in the most indifferent tones. No hand-wringing, no lachrymose admonitions about prostiting the office.

Of course, the fact that we're hearing of this at all is only a result of Shrillary's apparent freefall-the left is very ruthless with its wounded. I suspect however, the obomanation, who at 46 already shows a prodigy's deft hand at parlaying political position into cold hard cash, will make the Clintons look like amateurs before he's done.

Stupid, stupid kool-aid drinkers.


Bob Jones and Thomas Nast
Bob Jones shows why Thomas Nast chose a jack-ass to represent the Democrat party.

It's called "the political process"
I don't mean to shock everyone, but on this one I agree with Arnold. Local and county governments tilt the table to amass inordinate power for themselves, excluding everyone but them and their friends from the political process. It's not just Montgomery County, but virtually every jurisdiction in the country.

What they do is to fix the procedural rules so that no onehas any weight in the policy process but them. They make a great show of allowing the public to enter their comments, to stand up in the assembly hall and hold forth, to form citizens' committees and "study the situation" so they can give the town council their report.... at the end of which period the bosses do what they fully intended to do in the first place. Every time.

And they do the dumbest things. The more you look at the workings of local government anywhere in the country, you understand that this class of people is not as intelligent as the guy who changes your engine oil.

Our only recourse is, every several years, to throw the ba**ards out and get a new set of dumb ba**ards. But the picture rarely changes. No one wants them to raise taxes, so they issue bonds instead. Hoorah. And the money gets spent on projects that enrich the guys they play golf with. Meanwhile the nitty gritty gets worse and worse, from neglect and a failure to understand how the public realm is really supposed to work.

I welcome Arnold's next article, so long as he offers up a solution to the problem.

Changing status quo by “Doing Good”? When “Doing Good” IS the status quo?
Show me one politician who says his/her programs are NOT for the good of the populace. Every one of them says that every one of their programs is for the good of some goodly portion of the populace.

It is this disease of (US) GOVAGs (GOVernment AGents) "Doing Good" (and the disease of Non-GOVAGs WANTing the GOVAGs to "Do Good" to them) that has brought us to this (sorry) stage.

But the US Government - with the exception of the slavery clause - was NOT set up to "Do Good" to its citizens. It was set up to secure (from violation by others, including from the GOVAGs themselves) the Rights of EACH individual to their own life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness.

There was a time when a POTUS rejected a measly $15,000 (may be $15 million in today's dollars) for the treatment of - for Christ's sake - mental patients.

Where do we find such kind of politicians now?

Until and unless US society gets rid of this disease of wanting the GOVAGs to "Do Good" to them, there is no salvation.

Rabid partisanship
Is the "left wing press", or indeed anyone, really unsettled by the fact that ex-presidents get rich when they step down? I think this fact of life has been accepted by everyone for a very long time.

Is it worse when Bill Clinton does it than it is for any other ex-president? You be the judge.

As a member of the public, I get upset when financial chicanery gets discovered among members of the standing legislatures around the country. And here in North Carolina, the state government is solidly Democrat. Thus the list of flagrantly larcenous Democrats is a long one. You might recall the names Black, Decker and Wright if you're widely read.

Are they worse than the Republicans? Let's take a look at our current Congress. Do the names Rick Renzi (R-AZ), Pete Domenici, (R-NM), Heather Wilson (R-NM), Doc Hastings (R-WA), John Doolittle (R-CA), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Gary Miller, R-CA) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) ring any bells for you? Those are just the standing western-state Republican representatives currently under investigation for being crooks while in office.

So neither party comes out clean. You might adjust your perceptions accordingly.

Social Security had a (perhaps) unintended consequence
Joanie,
It's interesting that you picked the baby boomers as your first spoiled generation. Because of Social Security the baby boomers were the first generation that grew up with the certain knowledge that their subsistence in old age was the responsibility of the government rather than themselves. And in part their parents felt free to spend freely and spoil them because they were internalizing the fact that they didn't need to worry about old age.

Solution: vote
And return the federal government to a federal role.

Congress should not be funding ANY local city, county or state projects of any sort.

The courts and congress have made the 10th Amendment a dead letter
The Federal government was never meant to have such breadth of power under the constitution.

Then the Constitution itself is a dead letter.
Why continue the charade?

King of pork: former KKK democrat Byrd.
They can all take lessons from Byrd.

In a different age. . .
Confederate General Robert E. Lee famously turned down a huge amount of money offered by an insurance company to endorse their product. He said something to the effect that to trade on his fame would be immoral.

Dwight Eisenhower retired relatively simply after becoming the most famous general of the 20th century and after 8 years as President.

In sharp contrast Ronald Reagan quickly and shamelessly took millions from the Japanese for a speaking tour immediately after leaving office.

Bill Clinton has managed to accumulate tens of millions in the 8 years since he left office, as has Al Gore - both of them setting a new standard for doing quite well after claiming to set out to do good.

I think this is a consequence of Government accumulating so much power over money and people's lives that politicians are able to profit almost unlimitedly by virtue of what later appear to have been small decisions.

It's not the campaign contributions that are the problem, it's the payback that occurs after shameless people leave office.





It's being continually corrupted but it's still better than the abyss - at least now
One day a critical mass of people will decide that it is no longer better than the abyss and that's when the concensus will fall apart.

We've taken a very dangerous turn by going to an all volunteer professional army. This adds a new dimension to the danger that we court each time the Supreme Court makes a ruling that is on its face scornful of the plain language of the Constitution. People forget that military officers take an oath to protect and defend the constitution.

An excellent article - very thought provoking
I've never seen an argument go down the paths this article took. It puts the notion of wealth in a different perspective.

Great observation...
Hi Sully,

Glad you stopped by. I was afraid we'd lost you to Little Green Footballs. ;)

You know, the whole thing about S.S. never even occurred to me, but you're right. I suspect that most people aren't even consciously aware of it.

Good catch!

Joanie

That's how we got to this point
You miss my point. Local and municipal governments can become intrusive and autocratic without any help from the feds. They do it very well, in fact.

And people do already vote. But we still have this problem. Maybe it's that a majority of voters are not competent to perform the work of choosing their local government.

Pork vs graft
Byrd's good. But to me, the kings are John Murtha and Alaska's Ted Stevens. Alaska in fact tops the pork list, with Arizona coming in at the bottom.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/03/22/alaska_ranks_first_in_pork-barrel_spent

One nice thing you can say about McCain is that he has never brought home a single dollar to his state. Possibly this is the reason he needs to seek election elsewhere. Voters love their pork, and tend to reward their benefactors with re-election.

But we weren't talking about pork, we were talking about graft. A very different subject. And here, John McCain was without a doubt standing too close to the Keating scandal.

"Local and municipal governments can become intrusive and autocratic "
But people can vote with their feet much more easily as is being demonstrated in Detroit, MA and CA.

The Feds aid and abet by funding local and state governments.

Cut off the federal pork/graft and the states, cities and counties will have to compete.

People vote for intrusive and autocratic governments because they want to force their neighbors to live the way they want them to live. You support that though right? Pure democracy in action.

It didn't begin with the Boomers
It didn't begin with the Baby Boomers. It began somewhere around the beginning of the twentieth century, or perhaps earlier, at least if you accept the history of the State that Philip Bobbitt sets forth in The Shield of Achilles. He quotes Kaiser Wilhelm II accepting the throne with a speech in which he says "These are glorious times into which I will lead you," and links the rise of the competing claims of Communism, Fascism, and "parliamentary democracy" for bettering the human condition to a new role given to the State in the thinking of that time.

Another way
Another way to limit the power of the federal legislators is to reduce the role of the federal government to something resembling its original purpose. We could begin by requiring that at least two thirds of the revenue from general income taxes at the federal level be used to provide for the common defense, and that any other spending come from taxes levied AND SPENT for an express purpose (no raiding the Highway and Aviation trust funds) and levied explicitly upon the person to whom the tax appertains (no "employer contributions").

Reminds me of athletes...
Athletes try to make it to the top because of the big money that can be made from endorsements. Sports is the vehicle by which they get there.

It's the same thing with politicians, except the vehicle is "public service" and they write books and give speeches. If they ever moved into endorsements, I wonder what products they would sell. Cigars? >:-]

Joanie

Disagree about athletes
Athletes don't try to make it to the top to get big money. They try to get to the top to be the best. Money may or may not follow depending upon the sport.

There may be something else as well
Your points about social security and the boomers are well taken, Sully and Joanie, but there's something else you might want to think about to add to this stew.

The elites are under examination and in the public view thanks to the media as never before. This means that for the first time, the general population is aware of how deficient they are as persons, how shallow, in short, much like just about everyone. This exposure has led to a growing sense that there's no particular reason these people deserve to be in the exalted positions they're in. This examination has shown how spoiled and indulgent the elites are. For reasons shown below, to a certain extent the rest of us may be copying them in their self-indulgence.

Enabling this is the huge growth in personal wealth over the past half century or so. That means the average person now has the material means to enjoy those things which even 60 years ago were solely for the enjoyment of the rich. This has allowed all of us the means to copy them.

Call it the Paris Hiltonization of society. Our supposed role models don't wear underwear, implying that they defy the very conventions that made them important and famous in the first place.

So, why do people want government intervention? Perhaps because, having seen these so-called leaders up close and personal thanks to the media, we no longer trust them to wield their economic and political power in useful and constructive ways.

true that Joanie
I did read one of DiLorenzo's articles and have learned from reading other sources that Lincoln's tactics in war and other things were pretty brutal, etc. You have a good point. I suppose my point was to express my desire for an American leader who can take criticism and not exact retribution for it, indeed who can self-criticize and make changes as needed. One who listens and considers opposing points of view, who can work with others, even conservative types who are unable to do this. Thats what I consider a major component of good leadership.


BTW, thanks to you Joanie for hooking me up to Mises. It was a couple months ago in something you posted that led me to mises.org. I get the daily emails and regularly go there to read articles and learn about things now. Its really one of the most independent and educational economic/political sources I know of.

Hiding in the Shadows
I agree, local government is a joke. They have the "comments" but in the end, they always do whats best for them.

I think a huge part of the problem is that these people essentially get on a ballot and the only positions you get to hear are in the voters guide. When was the last time you heard a ideological statement from a city council person?

Perhaps we should insist, as voters, that these people subject themselves to town hall questioning sessions?

But the press treats Republicans differently
Like in the latest scandal, when you had to look real hard in the New York Crimes to find any notation that Spitzer was a Democrat. If he was a Republican, it would be in every headline for crying out loud.

They did identify Spitzer's affiliation once
The problem is, the only time the press managed to name a party, they declared that Sptizer was a Republican.

That's ok (that the locals get powerful)
Because the ultimate vote people have is that which their feet provide them. And, moving out of a county into the next is relatively easier than moving out of state and (definitely) moving out of the country.

So, that will keep things in check. The folks living in Montgomery County either can change things or move out.

force
roy believes that only he has the right to force others to live up to his standards.

As he has stated, if someone moves into his neighborhood and tries to change the political culture, he has the right to shoot these interlopers in their sleep.

that works for a while
until the city decides it's going to annex the land you moved to.

Vote the bas*ards out then!
It is much easier to get on a local ballot and much easier to gin up local rage.

Liberty is not free.

It's even worse...
...when we consider that some of our tax money is actually given to those who have a clear political agenda.

The best examples are the teaches unions. These unions have a clear polical bent, and they use OUR tax dollars to pursue their agenda, one that, more often than not, directly contradicts the reason the tax is collected--to educate students.

The unions represent the teachers, not us, and yet the money comes from our taxes. In fact, in many areas, the union has more power than the local school boards.

Want to fix the education problem in this country? Start by busting the teachers unions.

Of course, even worse than the teachers unions is the SEIU - Service Employees International Union. Yet again, our tax dollars go to support the left-wing loonies. If we want election reform, the place to start is to prevent our tax dollars from going to the politicians in this indirect way.

-Bob

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