, Salem, MA


May 14, 2013

Column: Taxing us into utopia

Deval Patrick’s January “State of the State” address did not quite reach the fervent, harmonious level of a revival meeting, which he apparently intended to generate in order to slide his opaque tax hike (which starts at roughly $1.92 billion into instant popularity.

A week after the heinous Boston Marathon bombing, Patrick and the state Legislature continued along with the pernicious process of getting into our wallets, trying to figure out whether they’re going to take $500 million, $800 million, $1.1 billion or roughly $2 billion. Most of the people in this state are still suffering from the financial debacle of 2008-2009, and are working more for less money.

During the manhunt for the Marathon bombers, there was a long camera shot of a main thoroughfare in Watertown on television, and I realized, after the fact, that I was looking at roughly $2 billion dollars in pay packages and transportation equipment, but the surviving bomber was found by David Henneberry, a Watertown resident having a cigarette and walking his dog in his back yard. So, along with Patrick and the state Legislature’s new money grab, Congress being intent on attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements and quietly repealing the Stock Act, once again allowing federal legislators to practice the ultimate in insider trading, it dawned on me that there are really two Americas, one a leaky rowboat, and the other a fabulous pleasure cruiser.

Somewhere along the line, local, state and federal public servants lost sight of the fact that they are public servants. In no other sector of society can you vote your own pay package, your own pension package and your own benefit package, unless you are in the upper echelons of corporate society. Public service was originally framed as a sacrifice, wherein you took some time away from your regular life to do a favor for the country that gave you the opportunity to have a regular life. Now it’s become a different class of society, with more amenities, both actual and financial, than the non-political class has, which means the rest of us.

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