Oh, for pity sakes. Somebody needs to construct a "Third-World Index," to measure just how close the United States is coming to represent, say, Rwanda or Uzbekistan. We could put Simon Johnson in charge of banana republic finance issues. Rick Perlstein ought to be available to track the decaying infrastructure. And now we can deploy T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post to track the great Taxes-are-for-little-people E;pidemic. Jeez Louise, forget about knowing how to play the game--isn't anybody even trying to play the game any more? In Kentucky it used to be (maybe it still is) a condition of public office that you swear that you had not fought a duel. Dueling is, perhaps, a mere private matter, but for enjoying public benefaction, couldn't we make a rule that you at least show that you have paid your bills?
Read the fine print in Farnam's account and you can infer that this isn't even particularly knew but I don't see any reason not to get infuriated with it anyway. And what is particularly egregious is anything even remotely resembling a glimmer of shame. Democrats are likely to tell you they "forgot," probably in the press of doing the people's important business. Republicans are bound to suggest that they are just serving the public good, liberating some of those tax dollars from the bureaucratic prison out into the free upper air of the markeplace. Neither view washes; the combined picture is one which standards of civic responsibility no longer seem to work, but where we have an elite class that really doesn't give a rat's patootie whether they work or not.