cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
There is an excellent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning written by Fay Vincent, former baseball commissioner. He discusses his earlier experiences while working in the Securities and Exchange Commission and reviewing the reports of corporate executive perks.
The theatrics we observed during the recent automobile executives' testimony only serves to remind us of the 'classes' that exist in our society. That was very effective as a tool to embarrass the executives, but it played a spotlight on what, to me, is at least as serious a problem as are corporate jets in our present economic situation.
Mr. Vincent also tagged our elected representatives for the perks they have given themselves over the years.
Two things jumped out:
Elected officials have a fleet of military 'executive' jets awaiting their needs and stationed at Andrews Air Force base near the capitol. Not many of them has ever likely flown on commercial flights when they go abroad on their junkets. Nancy Pelosi was taken to task for her reported use of military jets to fly her home from Washington, D.C. to California. She was angry that she didn't get as good a jet as she thought she deserved. Hers had to stop to re-fuel and that was apparently an unbearable delay.
How many members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate have flown on those very same corporate executive jets when on their way to 'speaking' engagements or some other junket?
At least the corporate executives are taxed on the perks they receive. I don't recall that is the case for our elected representatives when they fly on a military flight or use other perks they've managed to create for themselves like a gymnasium.
Our elected officials supposedly are required to reimburse for the costs incurred if they fly on corporate aircraft, but I suspect there are some methods employed to assure that they remain 'whole', such as through an increase in speaker fees to offset any out-of-pocket expense that might have been incurred.
We have an 'elected' class and a 'rest of us' class.