Congress Has an Answer for Public Wrath: Eliminate Town Halls
Paul Ryan has made himself available during the recess—but for a price. That’s right: Ryan and other lawmakers are now charging constituents to attend public events and ask them questions. Ryan wanted $15 a head. Rep. Dan Quayle (R-Ariz.), Politico reported, is charging $35 from attendees who want to ask him questions over a catered lunch at a Phoenix law firm. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) also wants money—$10 a person—to attend an his event, which is hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Why the ticket price? At the very least, it’s a way to weed out the unemployed and financially burdened, who are also the most likely to give lawmakers an earful for the dismal state of the labor market and sluggish economic recovery. As Scott Page, a twice laid-off worker who participated in the sit-in inside Paul Ryan’s office, told a local blogger, “I don’t have $15 to ask Rep. Ryan questions, so I guess this is the only means I have to talk to him.”
If you have answers to your constituents, you don’t charge them for audiences. This is corruption on the part of politicians who are doing nothing for their citizens. It’s that simple.