Roger’s Rules

Annals of democracy, dept. of the First Lady

I have been trying to discover just how many people our duly elected representatives employ on their staffs — how many people they employ, and how much they spend to employ them. It is data that is not easy to come by, but I am poking around and will reveal my findings in due course.

But wait, I said “duly elected” representatives — I meant, of course, not only those who have been elected by the American people (sometimes with the help of ACORN) to serve the American people and their interests, but also the (I believe) unprecedented number of sitting Senators who have been appointed, not elected:

–Paul Kirk Jr., in Massachusetts (tapped by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to replace Ted Kennedy after Kennedy asked that state law be changed to allow that “right of succession” (after he had previously changed it to be sure that a former Republican governor couldn’t appointment someone no sanctioned by the Kennedys).

–Kirsten Gillibrand, Hilary Clinton’s replacement.

–Roland Burris, Barack Obama’s replacement in Illinois.

–Michael Bennet, Ken Salazar’s replacement in Colorado.

–George LeMieux, Mel Martinez’s replacement in Florida.

–The former Biden staffer who, as George Will puts it, will make himself scarce next year “in service to the ancient notion that public offices should be family patrimonies” so that Beaux Biden, the Vice President’s son, can run in Delaware for the seat that dear old dad held for some 36 years.

Ah, democracy: what a quaint idea!

But back to the staffs and perquisites commanded by our rulers. As I say, it takes some digging to find out. But an enterprising Canadian Journalist supplied a supplementary bit of information about a supernumerary member of our ruling entourage, Michelle Obama, the First Lady.

Paul L. Williams, writing in a couple of articles in the Canada Free Press, has some news that should be of interest to U.S. Taxpayers. In his first article on the subject, reported on the size of Michelle Obama’s taxpayer-funded: 22.

Pretty amazing, what? Twenty-two people, paid for by you and me, for . . . for what?

But I am here to tell you that Mr. Williams was wrong. Michelle Obama does not employ 22 people at the taxpayer expense. No, the correct number (as Mr. Williams later reported) is 26.

“In my own life,” Mr. Williams quotes Michelle Obama as saying, “in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service.”

Touching, is it not? “Public Service,” at a cost (Mr. Williams calculates) of merely $1,750,000 to the taxpayers — and that is “without taking into account the expense of the lavish benefit packages afforded to every attendant.”

Here’s the breakdown:

1. $172,2000 – Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)
2. $140,000 – Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)
3. $113,000 – Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)
4. $102,000 – Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)
5. $102,000 – Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
6. $90,000 – Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
7. $84,000 – Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)
8. $75,000 – Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)
9. $70,000 – Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)
10. $65,000 – Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
11. $65,000 – Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
12. $62,000 – Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)
13. $60,000 – Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
14. $60,000 – Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)
15. $52,500 – Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)
16. $50,000 – Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)
17. $45,000 – Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
18. $45,000 – Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)
19. $40,000 – Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
20. $36,000 – Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
21. $36,000 – Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
22. $36,000 – Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

Missing from this is a hair-dressing, a make-up artist, and two other personal servants.

So here we have it, folks: Senate and House seats that are effectively family property if you come from the right family, and lavish staff arrangements not only for our legislators, elected or not, but also for certain select spouses.

I wonder how all this plays in the midst of a huge global recession when millions are out of work and our rulers are busy thinking of ways to increase taxes while decreasing individual freedom through various regulations.

It used to be said that the Democrats were for “the little guy”: they were supposed to be the party that was on the side of the working man and woman, who looked after the underprivileged, the downtrodden, etc. It was always a myth, but today it is completely belied by reality. As a USA Today headline puts it, “In major flip, House Dems now represent richest regions.” “The Democratic-controlled House,” the paper reports, “is now an unusual combination of the richest and poorest districts, the best and least educated, and the best and the worst insured. The analysis found that Democrats have attracted educated, affluent whites who had tended previously to vote Republican.”

It’s a union of the top and the bottom against the middle. The question is, How long will the middle suffer the slings and arrows of this outrageous fortune?