"Why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye," Our Lord said, "and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?"
Good question for the United States, given the latest report from our national capital, courtesy of the Washington Times.
The munchkins in Emerald City are passing out bonuses faster than Slick Willie passed out pardons, and we're not talking about nickels and dimes. The regime has scattered nearly a million smackeroos among deserving statist bureaucrats.
And the city is still a mess, proving the old adage that if you want more of something, subsidize it.
The corruption is so flagrant you marvel at the sheer audacity.
This summer, the paper reports, D.C. bureaucrats passed out a cool $740 big ones to "executives," even as the city cried poverty and hit up Congress for more money. Since 2001, the city has dished out, in payments averaging $3,000, about $4 million. The top cop, who pulls in a piddling $175,000 a year, wangled two bonuses since 2001 totaling $21,000. In May, he landed a five-year extension on his contract with a $25,000 raise.
But the chief isn't Washington's only deserving gumshoe. Another employee landed a $9,383 bonus in 2002 on a salary of $128,619. Yet a third finagled a $9,987 bonus, same salary. Another "executive," this one with the "Labor Relations" department, laughably enough, yanked in $6,997 on a salary of $150,000 annually. The former health department chief hauled in $33,600 over 20012002.
Hilariously, even other city bureaucracies were astounded. "No, we don't do that here," a Baltimore city bureaucrat told the Times. "We can't give out tax dollars as gifts."
Yeah, right. Actually, every tax dollar anyone receives is a gift because they didn't earn it. Or, we might call it booty because it was taken by force.
Back In Iraq
Yet more amusing than D.C.'s monkeyshines is this: The federal politicians and bureaucrats who can't manage a city government barely a 1,000 yards away from the U.S. Capitol, propose remanufacturing a government in a city 6,200 miles away. They couldn't control that crack-smoking psychopath, Marion Barry, the former mayor, but they propose controlling not just Baghdad but all Iraq.
The moral of the story is that we have plenty of problems to solve here without going overseas. Let's start with illegal immigrants and the war against American culture and English. After that, we can tackle the federal welfare Leviathan. Freeloaders faking disability and other entitlement "claims," and even worse, bureaucrats, loot them every day.
Nor can we forget pornographic art subsidized by taxes, federal Indian reservations mired in obscene squalor, purposeless bureaucracies such as the Energy and Education departments that waste billions of tax dollars, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
The Coming Collapse
Then again, much of this waste and abuse, and many of these problems, are connected to military and foreign policy; i.e., the welfare state walks hand-in-hand with the warfare state. Empires always erect semi-fascistic and corrupt police states at home.
Thus, taxpayers suffer an annual rampage of federal looting to subsidize not only our foreign legion but also our imperial bureaucracy, including this new Department of Homeland Security. Thus, they suffer this long train of bonuses distributed without the slightest wince at the brazen corruption.
History tells us the collapse is coming. But we won't see it unless we look here for beams instead of abroad for motes.
September 24, 2003
Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.