Saturday, March 14, 2009

American Royalty: Arrogance on Display

The term “entitlement” can be used to describe the thinking of an increasing number of Americans who believe that their country owes them a living, or a job, or food, or something else. And it can be used to describe the thinking of a large number of elected officials at every level of government from the small town mayor to members of the U.S. Congress.

There is something about being elected to certain positions that seems to convey to at least some of those elected to them a sense of superiority, the idea that they deserve deference, subservience and our undying respect.

Such people are always around and they represent no particular political affiliation. I’m allowing that there are plenty of Republican boobs, too, but right now, with the Democrats in control of Washington, the most prominent and numerous boobs are Democrats.

Leading this short list of the many in the Hall of Shame is Rep. Charles Rangel. Mr. Rangel leases a Cadillac DeVille, for $774 per month paid for by you and me. When a reporter had the temerity to ask Rep. Rangel why he leased such an expensive car, he was told, “Why don’t you mind your own [expletive deleted] business.”

This little perk is available only to members of the House of Representatives. And it's not just the car, but gas, registration, and insurance, too. Furthermore, there is apparently no limit to the privilege. John Conyers leases a Lexus that comes in at $998 a month.

Then there is Sen. David Vitter, who got to the gate 20 minutes before his plane was set to leave only to find the security door closed. He is said to have opened the door anyway and then engaged in a "do-you-know-who-I-am” tirade that apparently grew quite heated, according to media reports.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent cavalier misuse of the transportation she is allotted from the U.S. Air Force epitomizes this shameful characteristic. She apparently “treats the Air Force like her personal airline," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Not only does Speaker Pelosi issue unreasonable requests for military travel, but her office seems unconcerned about wasting taxpayer money with last minute cancellations and other demands."

Congressman Barney Frank’s behavior in the mortgage banking crisis is perhaps the most dangerous and damaging behavior by an arrogant lawmaker. He opposed efforts to regulate mortgage banks, especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he was a strong supporter of making loans to non-credit-worthy borrowers. He also received substantial campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie, and now attempts to shift blame that he rightfully earned to Republicans.

Our elected representatives often forget one very important thing: They are public servants. They have been elected by the people to provide a service to the people. They are paid by the people. They work for us.

Many of them misuse their positions, and in fact seem to have forgotten why they have been elected, and the phenomenon tends to worsen with tenure; the longer someone has been in high office, the more entitled they become.

Two words define the best solution to this display of hubris: Term limits.

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