Sunday, December 17, 2017
Opinion

Legislature's preening on health care enough to make you sick

Ah, from the mouths of fools.

Leave it to the Confederacy of Dunces, otherwise known as the Florida Legislature, to expose its self-importance.

During a heated debate over whether lawmakers should pay the same rates for health insurance as state employees, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-He Thinks He's Special, argued if elected officials had to cough up more money "you're going to lower the pool of people who can afford to take this job."

Uh, senator? Given the Minister of Silly Walks quality of what passes for leadership in the Florida Legislature, that pool was drained dry a long time ago.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Martin Luther, began the apostasy when he suggested it might be a nice act of solidarity if the Legislature voluntarily agreed to give up its cushy health insurance plan, which calls for only $8.34 a month in individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage.

Negron argued legislators should pay $50 a month for individuals and $180 a month for family coverage, just like janitors, prison guards and other state workers.

By a voice vote the measure was killed faster than an al-Qaida kingpin on the receiving end of a drone strike. That enabled all those brave, courageous, principled Tallahassee Disraelis to avoid having their names attached to rejecting Negron's idea.

Still, a few of the Legislature's Foundering Fathers did seize upon the heretical notion they should pay as much as a state custodial workers. They noted the extreme sacrifices they make to serve, not to mention how much more valuable they are to the inner workings of government.

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-"You're So Vain," whined that statesmen are vastly different that those icky poo-poo state workers because they endure contested elections and face nasty character assaults from their opponents. Siplin, who has enough accusations of ethics violations to qualify for a Silvio Berlusconi decoder ring, knows a bit about the rigors of the hustings.

As for Bennett, R-"Mirror, Mirror On the Wall," the man simply does not know when to shut his yap. He advanced the theory that making lions of the Senate such as himself pay more for health coverage will result in having only rich people running for office.

Well, who knew? Who knew that seeking public office was nothing more than a ruse to grab cheap health care?

A simple question for the poor, beleaguered souls of the Florida Legislature? Please, Sens. Siplin, Bennett, Ellyn Bogdanoff and Evelyn Lynn, who were among the more vocal opponents of Negron's proposal: Who put the gun to your head to force you to run for office in the first place?

If the job is so onerous and costly, you are perfectly free to return to the private sector. And while we're at it, since serving in Tallahassee is supposed to be a part-time gig, don't most of you have real-world employment back home that offers health insurance coverage?

It has to be particularly grating for the janitorial staff in the Capitol who have to clean up the messes left behind by the likes of Siplin and Bennett and their fellow whiners, to know how little their labors are valued by the legislative laggards in their fancy leather chairs.

The timing of the sob sister senators couldn't have been better.

For while these folks were suggesting they deserve special status, Sen. John Thrasher, R-Brutus, was issuing a memo pleading with his colleagues to adhere to a greater degree of decorum.

This from a conspiring, duplicitous, back-stabbing Thrasher, who only days earlier had attempted a palace coup to undermine Sen. Andy Gardiner's campaign to become Senate president in two years.

The Liberty Valance of Jacksonville failed in his bid to unseat Gardiner. But the Orlando Republican might hire a food taster.

Thrasher lecturing people on decorum is a bit like Queen Elizabeth crusading against nepotism.

When it comes to hail-fellow-well-met civility in the Florida Legislature, you would have an easier time finding decorum at a World Wrestling Entertainment greased pig night, although sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

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