Since last summer, nearly every article I read that covers some type of anti-government rally contains quotes from a rally attendee – who works for the government. Or perhaps is retired from the government and collecting a pension. This past Wednesday, President Obama visited the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, New Jersey to promote a bill that would aid small businesses with loans and tax breaks. (NOTE: The Republicans killed the bill in the US Senate yesterday).
Peter Applebome, a local affairs columnist for the New York Times visited Edison while the president was there and did some “man on the street” interviews. Here’s what one guy had to say:
“I think what we need to do is to stop going into this socialistic society, which is what I think [the president’s] goal is,” said [the man being interviewed]. “Maybe he’s not a true socialist, but his ideals and ideas are — this kumbaya thing where everyone gets the same health care and the same benefits. And most of the health care is going to go to immigrants. Well, the country wasn’t built that way.”
Certainly this guy – whose name is Ron Mieczkoski – is entitled to his opinion, but I found it ironic that Mr Mieczkoski is a lieutenant in the Edison police department. That means he’s probably being paid by the taxpayers at least $100,000 per year, with top benefits and the ability to retire at age 55 with a lucrative pension. I don’t suppose his salary is part of this socialist transformation of the country. It’s OK to spend taxpayer money on him, just don’t spend it on anyone else.
I don’t fault government workers – or any workers – for trying to increase or at least retain their wages and benefits. And government workers are certainly entitled to take stands on political issues whatever those issues might be. But government workers who are so passionate about cutting back on government spending would perhaps have more credibility if they voluntarily relinquished some of the benefits they’re already receiving from the government. But that won’t happen because something that benefits them is good government; it’s only the things that benefit others that lead to socialism.