Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Holt Derides His Constituents. This Constituent Pushes Back

By David Wanetick, Princeton, NJ

Rush Holt never tires of deriding the many thousands of his constituents who work for financial services firms. Holt depicts anyone who works--or has worked for--a financial firm as a con artist or greedy exploiter of the working class. In his shallow analysis of complicated economic issues, he clings to the convenient notions of populism and collective responsibility. In his view, all financial professionals (and only financial professionals) are responsible for the nation's economic ills.

Let me add some dimensionality to Holt's warped notion of greed.

One of Holt's constituents is a man that I know and will refer to as Bob.

Bob logs many long hours working and commuting to his investment banking job in New York City. He does make a nice living. In his younger years, he wanted to amass a great fortune. Now, he justs wants to support his family, provide his children with a solid education, and save enough for a comfortable retirement.

Bob is just the type of constituent that Rush Holt relentlessly vilifies as a fat cat investment banker.

Let me also tell you what Bob does when he is not pursuing his business deals. Bob is a volunteer fireman. As such, Bob has served his community heroically for some seven years.

He has received no compensation for his volunteerism. On the contrary, his serving as a volunteer fireman has resulted in him losing out on lucrative business deals.

On the weekends that he is "on call" and goes on an outing with his family, he and his wife drive separate cars. Just in case he gets an emergency call.

When those calls come in, Bob selflessly responds without a moment's hesitation. There is no calculation as to what personal gains may be derived from his responding to calls. While he has not experienced any serious injuries, he takes enormous risks every time he responds to fires.

The contrasts between Bob and Rush Holt couldn't be greater.

Bob pays his taxes. Rush Holt unflaggingly votes to assess his constituents with increasingly confiscatory taxes.

Bob serves his local community. Holt is spending most of the remaining months of the election season outside of the district, courting funding from special interest groups.

There is no political calculation in Bob's community service. Rush Holt is all about political calculation for advancing his political career. He will rip a microphone out the hand of a constituent who disagees with his fiscal promiscuity and lean on banks to forgive mortgages of his supporters (as he boasted about doing in his May 21, 2010 email to constituents).
We are far better served by Bob than Rush Holt.


James Hogan said...

I think I understand the point of this story, but to play devil's advocate for the other side, I'll add this:

One of Holt's constituents is a woman that I know and will refer to as Jane.

Jane logs many long hours working and teaching at her job in a public school. She volunteers to lead a local girl scout troop and takes the girls on outings a few times a month. She also brings her dogs to the dog park, where I met her, almost every night and like Bob, more than anything else, she just wants to help support her family, provide for her children and save enough for a comfortable retirement.

Unfortunately, because she is a teacher, she is blamed for all of the economic troubles this whole entire state has, as if there are no other state employees who are overpaid, as if the school administrators aren't overpaid and inefficient, as if most services provided by the state aren't inefficient and full of lazy, overpaid workers, as if we don't have entire departments of nothing but wasteful spending, and as if we don't prop up the private casino industry while the private school industry takes a beating, as if NJTransit isn't looking for $900m after more than doubling the cost to riders and providing poor service.

I'm not saying that I disagree with the point story here, Bob seems like a nice enough guy, and I'm not saying that my friend Jane doesn't seem to be overpaid for her job teaching little kids to safely use scissors and glue, but both sides seem to point to some group/profession as being the whole problem and, in my opinion, the problems are bigger than the people themselves, but both sides just point to some small group of people anyhow.

My $0.02.

Anonymous said...

James makes a great point,

In both cases the fault lies not with individuals or even groups.

The blame belongs one place and one place only.


Kathy Baratta said...


I think that if you look into it you will find that most if not all municipalities now offer their volunteers a "LOSAP" benefit. It's a sort of pension system for volunteer firemen, Emt's, etc but they have to qualify by putting in a certain number of hours in order to be eligible to collect.