Wednesday, February 3, 2016

D.C. government's dysfunctional lemonade stand

The D.C. license plate slogan “Taxation without Representation,” just scratches the surface of the Orwellian farce that is the local D.C. government. Local politicians have been griping about statehood for the District for decades. Apparently to them, a mayor, a 13-member city council and a non-voting member in Congress, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), doesn't rise to the level of “representation” they seek. For instance, in the case of living-large Ms. Holmes Norton, she's entitled to a cushy annual salary of $174,000. Yet, she doesn't doesn't do much for it, her bellwether accomplishment is advocating the public’s right to sled on Capitol Hill.

Last Monday, the colorful characters that populate the city council gave preliminary approval to the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act (NEAR). Beyond a catchy acronym, this legislation would pay at-risk youths assumed to be predisposed to criminality a $9,000 stipend to stay out of trouble at least within the confines of the District. (Adjoining Maryland and Virginia, you are on your own.) Ward 5 Democrat Councilman Kenyan McDuffie, proponent of this bright idea said, “The goal will be to identify our teenagers and young adults at the highest risk for committing or being a victim of violent crimes, for participation in a stipend-based program involving life planning, trauma informed therapy and mentorship.” No doubt Mr. McDuffie's crystal ball will be at the ready—and it will have to be as all participants, naturally, will be anonymous.  This Obama-like transparency ensures no accountability to the proposed program whatsoever.

If fully passed, this bill would initially pay 200 D.C. residents “not to become criminals” at an “untenable” annual cost, per District chief financial officer Jeffrey DeWitt, of $3.9 million or $25.6 million over four years. It's a devious taxpayer-funded scheme worthy of the Corleone Family in “The Godfather.” Except it's not a shakedown enacted by fictional mobsters, but real life choices of elected officials who mismanage local D.C. affairs. Recall, these selfsame people hungrily lick their chops at the elevated influence D.C. statehood would give them.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

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