I believe I witnessed a rare event in the 2006 elections when a voter insurgency occurred as a result of the 2005 payroll grab by the Pennsylvania Legislature.
I think 25 to 30 representatives lost their seats. It doesn't take a college degree in finance to realize the extent of their compensation package and related benefits. When compared with the private sector, it equates to a privileged class of legislators.
What made the pay grab revolting to many was that in the mid-1990s, John Prezel was able to have legislation passed implementing a yearly cost of living adjustment, which was supposed to eliminate future pay raise issues.
Up through 2005, they were receiving yearly COLAs. And then there was the pension grab in 2001 under Gov. Tom Ridge, which according to Rep. John McGinnis, R-Altoona, has obligated state taxpayers to a $50 billion to $80 billion debt, depending on who is manipulating the numbers.
That 2006 election was music to my ears. Ben Franklin had to be smiling. He said: " I've given you a republic if you can hold it, not a democracy, but a representative republic" upon leaving the constitutional convention in Philadelphia. The downside of the 2006 election was that many of the new representatives were elected to office on that one single issue, and if you evaluate what they have accomplished, many of them do not deserve a second term. If only the unregistered residents of Pennsylvania would join those registered and vote in every election, accountability for the privileged class would occur every two years, four years or six years, as necessary.
What's it going to take? I think the next crisis that is going to infuriate the voters of this state is when they, especially the young college graduates, start analyzing their spendable money after they pay federal, state, and local taxes and the multitude of additional fees, student loan debt and additional nuisance taxes on their net pay.
As we march down this path toward a socialist republic, the working class and us retired folks are entering an era of what I refer to as indentured servitude, where more and more of our gross and net income is being taxed away by the privileged class.
The recent games of chance legislation that passed the state Legislature reveals its true intention, under the pretense of helping local clubs and bars, by requiring that 60 percent of the profits from such games go to the state treasury. And the transportation plan includes adding 28 cents to the wholesale price of gas, along with an increase in license and registration fees.
The path that we as a nation and state are on is not sustainable. Government spending continues to grow while the private sector continues to shrink.
We will never hold the republic with a 30 percent voter turnout at the polls. We as voters have the power to hold our politicians accountable for their squandering of the public treasury at both the state and federal levels, and they know it. Their only solution seems to be more taxes as demonstrated in the Affordable Care Act, which I believe, has more than 20 new taxes.
As voters, let us get busy and communicate with each other to force term limits at every election until we elect statesmen who concern themselves with the next generation instead of the next election. If you care about this republic and the quality of politicians that govern you and spend your money, get involved with all your friends and neighbors and get people registered to vote. The power at the ballot box is awesome when you realize that you can remove someone from office for their dereliction of duty to the taxpayer.