Abuse of power

When given the opportunity to voice opinions about government spending and regulations, Americans largely support limits. Yet the “Political Class” continues to rule against the people. No wonder voters hold Congress in low esteem—and contempt.

Scott Rasmussen, a long-time, respected nonpartisan pollster, has decades of surveys that support these statements. In his 2012 book, “The People’s Money,” he cites polls to prove his point. “America’s Political Class,” he writes, “wants to govern like it’s 1775, a time when kings were kings and consent of the governed was irrelevant.”

In other words: Citizens be damned! Our founders went to war against this kind of government and crafted a Constitution to guide us in preventing abusive rulers—but they continue to operate against us.

Mr. Rasmussen focuses on federal politics related to spending and debt, but much of his findings apply to other government levels as well. He defines the Political Class as a “collection of elected officials, lobbyists, political staffers, activists and their allies….” These people infiltrate our states, counties and cities. (Some of us refer to them also as “elites.” Elitists receive favored treatment, assume airs of superiority, have a sense of entitlement, and try to control others.) In Chapter 1 Rasmussen reveals a disturbing attitude among many of these people.

Speaking at a trade union association meeting, he said that Americans didn’t want to be governed left, right or even center—“They want to govern themselves.” A speaker following him (“high up in the Political Class ranks”) said, “All this talk of self-governance is fine. The only problem is that the American people are too stupid to do it.”

That contemptuous attitude prevails with many elitists—although most PC people are not stupid enough to publicly say it. Still they persist in their characteristic ways; trying to control our lives and greedily taking more of our earnings.

An Associated Press article by Gary D. Robertson published on the front page of the Wilmington StarNews print edition (April 1, 2013; not available online) shows that the Political Class operates with self-interests in North Carolina urban areas. According to Mr. Robertson’s analysis, the “Republican-led General Assembly “isn’t finished trying to take the powers and clout of North Carolina’s municipalities down a few more notches.”

I say good for our state representatives. Typically, urban Political Classes have run rough-shod over citizens with unnecessary spending and excessive regulations. With a new state governing body they now might be held accountable (but I wouldn’t bet on it).

The North Carolina State Constitution subordinates cities and counties to the state legislature at our General Assembly. As urban population centers grew local governments expanded with the increased tax take. The always greedy Political Classes in cities abused their powers; for example, forcibly annexing landowners, increasing their taxes and short-changing them with services. In 2011 the “Republican-led” General Assembly put a stop to this abuse. And they plan more limits on local abusers. The PC, however, still has a huge advantage.

A massive network of local governments gets support from, ironically, a taxpayer-supported League of Municipalities and its advocacy allies. This self-serving gang has shifted power away from the state and toward counties and cities. It has a long history of developing political power.(link)

The NCLM political machine uses self-serving tactics (“education”) to show local politicians and bureaucrats how to work the system to their benefit; with little or no citizen input. Few of us realize the power wielded by this behind-the-curtain organization.(link)

It influences the state legislature by monitoring committees, “testifying” and “working” with legislators. It provides “research” to “support municipal goals.” It intrudes in the state regulatory process especially focusing on “environmental issues.” It meddles in the appointment of state boards and commissions. It operates insurance programs for public employees and colludes with the National League of Cities. (link)

Gov. Pat McCrory, a big city guy, recognizes that “cities have abused their power at times.” But he will be under PC pressure to let them have their way with us.

Democrats say that Republicans show hypocrisy about the principle that government is best when close to the people. That may sound credible, but Political Classes become arrogantly abusive whenever they expand their power—at any government level. The people must demand accountability and limits.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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