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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The British scandal

The brouhaha in the House of Commons hasn't gotten much press over here, but it has stirred some very strong emotions over in the UK. Evidently numerous members of Parliament, under cover of their second home allowance, have put in for some extremely dubious expenses. They include the clearing of a moat, pet food, a trousers press, repairs on a partner's house, and fertilizer (the kind which gets spread on gardens, not voiced by politicians). The list of these abuses is evidently very extensive.

I've long resented the way that rich people in this country have been able to simply buy their way into public office. It's happened with Frank Lautenberg, John Heinz, Jon Corzine, Michael Bloomberg, various Kennedys and Rockefellers, and many, many others.

But one thing you can say for most of the rich people who spend their money to buy a political position is, however undeserving they are and out of control their egos may be, at least they're not doing it in order to feed at the public trough.


Anonymous said...

Are members of the British House of Commons generally not so wealthy?

Once the rich are elected in the US – don’t most of them take every financial advantage they can, no matter how petty? Congressional pay raises? Certainly nobody in the Senate needs that money, yet they vote for it. ‘Franking’ money? I suppose the Clintons weren’t rich, but I’m thinking of their worn out underwear donated to the Goodwill, deducted from their tax returns at $5 each... I am not sure about the facts here, wondering. -Ed

John Craig said...

I think the less rich members of Congress do take advantage of the perks. And the Clintons, though they have become fabulously wealthy since leaving the White House, were not wealthy while in it, which is why they did stuff like take those $5 per underwear deductions (I remember the same figure), and steal the White House china. It's also why they were susceptible to bribes like Hillary's "cattle futures trading" profits. But I can't imagine Bloomberg or Corzine trying to take advantage that way.