Defending the Right Things - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Defending the Right Things

A few notes from Rancho Mirage.

First, C-SPAN. This amazing set up allows me to watch Congressional hearings on both the Senate and House sides. Just recently, I spent hours watching the Senate Armed Services Committee interview and get testimony from General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense.

Now, I know that polls tell us that the public loathes and hates Congress, that they think Congressmen do no work and get tons of money and fail the nation.

But I found the Senators in this hearing to be brilliant, well informed, incisive, and insightful. They got out of the General and the SecDOD the astounding testimony that the USA cannot even come close to fulfilling its defense commitments around the world — that we are stretched far too thin everywhere, are not getting the best weapons, and are not keeping up with a world that is as dangerous as it has been since Vietnam. Maybe more dangerous.

Both sides were doing great work. I, as an old-o-con believe that much of the responsibility lies upon the supply siders. They cut taxes too much, left us with the sequester and not enough money to defend America.

There is no imperative greater than national defense. It beats tax cuts every time. We must spend more on defense. We need a bigger armed force. We need the newest weapons. We need to defend the peace and freedom of the nation — and the world.

So — as I watched, I thought, “Hmmm. Here are these legislators doing a damned fine job. Why do we hate them?”

(Of course, there are the sequester people…)

Then a few days ago, I saw a fascinating hearing about opioid pain meds and how they lead to heroin use. The emphasis by the Obama witnesses was on how the drug companies were responsible by selling OxyContin so aggressively and getting the nation “hooked” on pain killers.

Maybe so, but a very smart MC said he was a doctor and every case of heroin addiction he had ever seen began with the use of pot. And Obama wants pot legalized everywhere. This is a recipe for disaster, say I. Pot is the gateway to hell. I see it every single day.

My point, though, is that the legislators were well briefed, far, far, far smarter than the witnesses, total loser flaks for Obama’s far left policies. Why do we hate the legislators? What are they doing wrong, aside from the sequester?

One of them kept pressing a witness: “What is the treatment for drug addiction?” She could not answer. I can answer. It’s a COMPLETELY FREE 12 STEP PROGRAM!!!! And it involves a Higher Power, whom I call God, and who is God.

In a way, this is the treatment for all of this world’s problems: turn them over to a merciful, loving God. Of course, that ain’t coming out of the Obama White House.

But again, and this is my main point, I am damned impressed with the quality of our legislators. They get paid almost nothing. They work like demons. On both sides of the aisle they are committed and work like madmen and women.

Let’s stop blaming them and start valuing them.

A U.S. Senator gets paid roughly $175,000 per year. So does an MC. That is a bad joke. These people deserve far more. They do great work and are criminally underpaid.

Or look at judges: the average judge in America earns about $110,000 per annum. Yet, being a judge is a super hard job. Even being a Supreme Court Justice only gets you paid about $175,000 a year and slightly more if you are the Chief Justice.

That is less than the beginning wage at a major big city law firm and far less than wages at investment banks for people whose work is of small importance compared with the work of a judge.

We do not pay our civil servants enough. Not even close. Generals make less than starting lawyers and accountants. Special Forces men and women make far less than beginning NBA guards.

This is a deeply screwed-up system.

The worst paid among us are doing the most important work. Talk about inequality… you can shovel this on with a trowel.

One final remark: I am not a huge fan of Donald Trump. He is likeable in some ways, awful in others. But I hate to see the MSM grind him up like powder because he said abortion is blameworthy and some form of response is necessary. I know it’s legal (God help us). And I know that the question of how to deal with it is the Devil’s own query since we love all forms of innocent life and we want to show love for all women who carry life within them.

But at least Mr. Trump showed some respect for life. I don’t see it at all, not one bit, coming from the leftists. Maybe Mr. Trump could have been more suave. But he showed that he knows that some things are just plain wrong, and I don’t see Hillary or Bernie doing anything but handstands to egg on the men and women who encourage the deaths — the horrific deaths — of the most innocent among us.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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