Be sure to pick up this week's print edition of the Weekly, where we make the observation that the scandal of public employee and politician salaries in the small working class city of Bell will be used by the conservative commentariat to great effect. They'll point to Bell, where the city manager was making nearly $800,000 per year until he resigned last week, and then hammer it home — fairly or not — that this is representative of all government everywhere.
Well, sure enough, here comes Glenn Beck.
Here he is discussing Bell the other night:
And it's not just happening in California. In virtually bankrupt New York, 738 educators are collecting city pensions of more than $100,000 a year and three make more than $200,000 a year.
Union pensions at G.M. and Chrysler helped drive those auto manufacturers to the brink of disaster and into the loving arms of the federal government where they're currently going through your wallet to take that. I could go on and on and on.
It is happening in every city, every state, every branch of the federal government, in Washington, D.C. It has taken a tiny town of 37,000 to shine a little light on this unsustainable American plague.
In Bell, the city council members, facing an unhappy group of taxpayers, unanimously agreed Monday to give their controversial $96,000 a year salary up. Instead — by the way, notice how many Hispanics and minorities are in here. It is almost like — it's almost like you can't call these people racists.
Isn't that weird? Anyway, they're not going to draw their $96,000 anymore. They're going to draw now $673 a month. That is a 90 percent increase. I'm sorry — decrease.
It is time now for the rest of us to show up in D.C. and demand the same thing, except on a much, much, bigger scale.
This isn't to say he's right. Just for instance, it wasn't just decent wages and benefits that drove the automakers into trouble. There was also the issue of incompetent management that couldn't design or manufacture a car consumers wanted. And as far as bankrupting the country, what about the unpaid-for wars and tax cuts for rich guys like Glenn Beck?
But nevermind that. The point here is that the abusive situation in Bell isn't just bad for the people of Bell. It's bad for anyone who thinks government can help somebody, somewhere, because it's great ammunition for the likes of Beck.
(Here's Ted Soqui's great slide show of the raucous Bell City Council meeting earlier this week.)