City - County Gov.EditorialsKevin King

Is serving the public lost?

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Government in America began as a service to the people. From local office all the way to the White House, government was intended to be a duty. Congressmen were supposed to have real jobs, that’s why they meet in sessions. We have terms and elections on Tuesdays all because politicians weren’t supposed to make careers out of the gig.

Now look around. Why do Deputy Sheriffs drive nicer cars than the taxpayers who fund them? Most middle class Americans can’t afford a $30,000 sports car like the new Dodge Challengers many police officers are driving today.

County Commissioners make more for part time “service” than many people they are supposedly serving, which combined with their real jobs puts them into the upper class of the county. Politicians are increasing their own net worth at the helm of hard working taxpayers’ wallets. Why should someone’s vacation home or new luxury car be funded by those they claim to be serving?

In Buncombe County, it was found that the county commissioners were the top earning commissioners in the state. Once it was brought to light, they volunteered a smaller salary. Logic would lead one to believe that they had been caught with their hand in the taxpayer cookie jar and wanted to save face by taking an act of good faith. If they were always acting in good faith, they would not have been lining their pockets for years before getting caught.

This isn’t an attack on any individuals, but rather the culture that now surrounds government. Maybe the Buncombe County Commissioners were purposefully taking financial advantage of their constituents. Perhaps they were simply ignorant as to what was occurring. Either scenario paints a dismal picture of the political culture of the 21st century.

Furthermore, this isn’t an attack on the wealthy. It is simply pointing out those building wealth at taxpayer expense. Where once it was a duty to serve your fellow man, it is now a career far more lucrative than many private sector options. How many people get lifetime salaries and insurance for working just a few years in the private sector? It simply doesn’t happen. Everyday politicians are getting richer while the taxpayers are getting poorer.

What can be done? As with any culture, it has to be a gradual process. A completely different way of thinking. It must begin with more politicians refusing a salary. It must also mean that candidates who offer to refuse a salary be voted into office. As long as the American people elect people who have little concern for how their hard earned tax dollars are spent, there cannot and will not be change.

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