To borrow a phrase from Howard Beale, Americans are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it any more.
If you don't believe us, participate in one of those (increasingly) infrequent town hall meetings, hosted by Democratic Congressmen. When those events were first scheduled, members of the House and Senate were expecting a modest turnout, with supporters of health reform out-numbering opponents.
So much for political calculations. Judging from the sound bites we heard today, the American public is still upset, and ready to send scores of politicians packing.
But it's not just health care that has pushed ordinary citizens past the point of no return. In today's edition of The Wall Street Journal, John Fund notes the firestorm that greeted Congressional plans to expand the government fleet of private jets.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg; coming next, a public eruption over un-reimbursed per diem--travel money paid to members of the Senate and House for food and lodging expenses overseas. But in many cases, those expenses are paid by the host country or other government organizations. When that happens, members of Congress are supposed to reimburse the government, but that almost never happens.
How much money are we talking about? On longer trips (or jaunts to pricey locales), the tab can reach $3,000 for each Congressman, Senator, or staff member. Multiply that by scores of visits, and pretty soon, you're talking about real money.
About what you'd expect from a group Mark Twain aptly described as "America's native criminal class."
America's native criminal class indeed. I'm thinking of the low approval ratings this congress and its predecessors both Republican and democratic have received from the public. All they seem to know how to do is create win wins for themselves and their cronies at taxpayer expense. 2010 will be interesting.
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