Monday, August 23, 2010

Police and Fire Fighters and Teachers, oh my!

By Littlefish

Always, always, always… Police, Fire Fighters, and Teachers. Yep. Those are the things we can’t afford, Police, Fire Fighters and Teachers. They are obviously the biggest waste of taxpayer money to be found. Well, according to the Obama administration’s recent sales pitch. Like Obama says, if the states aren’t bailed out, Police, Fire Fighters and Teachers will have to be fired so fast that your houses will burn down, your property will be vandalized, and your children will be left ignorant in the streets! We must do something now; after all, Police, Fire Fighters, and Teachers will simply have to be cut! It is the only other solution!


How about, instead, we use a little imagination, head into the forest of government spending, bring out an axe, and start chopping some actual dead wood. Let’s look beyond the words of the politicians to the realities of what they are actually trying to protect. Let’s go ahead and keep the Police, Fire Fighters, and Teachers (if we could get their unions out of the picture, that would go a long way toward affordability of services, but I digress), let’s make sure these pillars of society are well funded and vibrantly staffed.

What then shall we cut? To listen to the current administration, you would think we were already to the bone. Hardly. I’ve never once heard a politician say something like:

“Hello, my name is Nancy, and I already have so many millions of dollars that my family can live happily without an income indefinitely. Ya know, instead of me taxing you guys more and cutting Fire, Police and Education funds, maybe, just maybe, I should cut the millions in tax payer funded entitlements my cohorts and I have written into law for ourselves!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about limits on wealth, I’m talking about limits on how much politicians can bilk the tax payer for without producing a single thing. Our elected servant’s overspending, over promising, and over paying themselves to do so, must be stopped immediately, and contrary to the current script from the Liar in Chief, we don’t need to cut Fire, Police, and Education to do it, we just need to focus on the ‘over paying themselves’ part. How about some common sense cuts, some of it really basic stuff, like:

1. Any public servant, (except the President of course) when traveling abroad or home to their constituents or across the state for a meeting, anywhere they might fly to, they fly coach. It’s already a rule, it just needs to be enforced and expanded. Or better yet, lets get them on Amtrak or Greyhound. No military transports, no first class. Only the cheapest fare available. Red eye if need be. We are trying to cut spending, right? This won’t solve everything financially, but in the case of politicians, it will give them extra quality time with their constituents, to help them learn of the latest issues facing them. And if coach isn’t safe for them, then they aren’t doing their jobs very well.

Wealthy companies have private jets and limos, their CEO’s use them because they are the bosses. Politicians aren’t the bosses, they are the servants. And the US government is not a wealthy company, it is a broke, penniless non-profit, and its employees need to act like it.

2. Salary caps can be detrimental to social and economic progress when used to constrain private sector wealth accumulation. However, the salaries of elected officials have no link at all to productivity, and therefore can be constrained without concern for a faltering economy, in fact, the more we can constrain their salaries, the better off you’ll be, especially if you work in Fire, Police, or Education, because it seems from their own rhetoric, the current administration is ready to slash the wages of Police, Fire and Education employees at a moments notice, indeed, it seems to be the only idea they have for cutting anything.

Let us remind them, that it is actually their salaries that are the least beneficial to society as a whole, and put them in line with general administrative salaries in the private sector. Or better yet, no politician shall make a yearly salary greater than the median income of their district, or how about, equivalent to the Police, Fire Fighters and Teachers of that district? Just a starting point.

The extension of that of course would be capping any politician’s tax payer funded retirement accounts as well. Maybe a graduated scale based on personal wealth of the politician in question would be more affordable. There is no reason on earth people like John Kerry, with his near Billion dollar fortune needs to suckle the government teat in retirement. He can invest and earn all his own money that he wants, but the golden parachute must go. We have income limits on other tax payer provided funds, like housing and food stamps, why not on politician’s tax payer funded pensions?

3. Eliminate all government motor pools and tax payer provided ground transportation for all politicians and public employees except for the President and Governors, and job specific vehicles like bucket trucks, back hoes, and police cars. Anyone else, from the Senate Majority Leader to the county tax assessor can drive their own cars and write off the mileage like everyone else. Or better yet, bus passes. Let’s get our public servants on public transportation. First of all, selling off all those vehicles should bring in a little seed money.

And while we’re at it, let’s eliminate free parking for public servants. When attending a rally at the capitol, attendees will know, the legislators park free but the constituents pay! No more free parking. If they can’t afford it on their new salary then they can take the bus, like everyone else who can’t afford parking. The garages can then be opened up to for-profit parking enterprises, at least to cover maintenance costs, maybe even fund a Teacher’s job or two.

4. What about Catering? The piles of sandwiches and bottles of water that stack up around government offices can be priced in the millions. Bring a sack lunch, servant! The rest of us do when we have to. No person in their right mind would forego necessary expenses, (rent, insurance, heating, or maybe, police, fire, education) just so they can maintain catered luncheons with their associates. How come legislators don’t have that kind of common sense? Oh yea, it’s not their money, maybe that’s why. And it isn’t so scary to get on TV and beg for higher taxes so you can keep your cupcakes.

5. Travel less. This goes for all government workers and public servants, but, this one is fresh for me because we just watched the Rock Star in Chief completely clog the city of Seattle with closed streets and no fly zones so his dozens of armored support vehicles could race him to the proper street corner to pimp his girl here in Washington. Mr. President, instead of bellowing fires of fear about global warming and painful cuts in public services, all the while gallivanting around the country trying to convince us your plans are working, how about you just teach the public with your actions, not with your unbelievable words. In other words, Mr. President, just get to work, and stop campaigning. Maybe that could save some Police jobs.

How much does it cost to fly that mini-army around the country several times a day? Even without the motorcade, at over $50k per hour, just 12 hours of flight on AF1 is another dozen years of decent salary for some unlucky Fire Fighter. I know that police, fire, and education is a state and local issue, not a federal issue, but President Obama seems adamant that there is some financial difference between state funds and federal funds. Somebody should tell him that all the money comes from the same place, the tax payers.

How about, as you pointed out yourself Mr. President, since the country is so broke that we have to fire our Police, Fire Fighters and Teachers, maybe you could stay home sometimes, in that beautiful house we provide for you, and broadcast your message over the TV. No military transport, no tons of carbon footprint, no small businesses losing business during the day because no one can get to their shop while you cruise 2nd avenue. Ridiculous. Of course, I understand fully the need for heavy armaments around world leaders in a diverse society, which is exactly why less travel is prudent.

I recognize these simple cuts aren’t going to solve our deficit issues alone, but Police, Fire Fighters, and Educators are key factors to a smooth running society. Why would any honest politician suggest cutting those first when there is still so much fat on the bone? Here in Washington State, to overcome our nearly $3 Billion state deficit, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, has put together a list of state specific cuts that could be made, instead of the perennial political trump cards of Police, Fire Fighters and Teachers. Some of these might work in your state, might not. The point is to flush these tax leeches out into the open so we can deal with them plainly.

And remember, the only way to know if a politician is lying, is to check to see if their lips are moving. The next time any elected servant of the public tries to sell some BS about cutting public services, ask them if they mean their own job first? Logically, if a legislator’s job is to manage and delegate funds for public services, and by their own admission public services need to be cut, it is clear that they haven’t been doing their jobs; therefore, which public service jobs need to be cut first is easy to ordain, the politicians themselves.

Thanks for playing.



  1. Liberty Belle, I am having trouble distinguishing the Tea Party from the mainstream Republican Party, which is unabashedly the party, not of the rich, but of the superrich; not of earned income, but of unearned income; not of people whose work and ingenuity make a real contribution to our country's prosperity, but to people who play with wealth created by others and syphon off healthy amounts for themselves. Government waste cannot be defended, nor can otiose unions -- but neither can the plundering of the nation's wealth by the superrich. I don't see what is unique about the Tea Party, after all, except perhaps the volume of its outrage. But as for substance, I don't see anything here that isn't pure Chamber of Commerce. Please advise.

  2. Awesome post. Hubby and I were just talking last night about local city government and their lack of cuts. Why do I *need* to cut down my weekly lattes but they get to keep spending tax money PLUS while guilting the taxpayers into more taxes because "we wouldn't want people to suffer, now would we"?

    NEW FLASH! People ARE suffering. Those of us with jobs are holding on for dear life and cutting back our necessities as well as frivolities (lattes and haircuts, as well as vacations and groceries). Those without jobs have used every bit of savings, lost their homes and a great deal more and the government wants MORE.

    Again, awesome post.

  3. Most of us out here have more and more ways for government to save money. I have my favorite:
    No office help. No highly paid advisors. This will require the office holder to read the bill himself, instead of just taking the advise of his hired secretaries.

  4. Yeah Nice article dude. It's awesome!

  5. Hi! I'm new to your blog and have really enjoyed visiting! I'm speechless with your article. You said it all very well.


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