April 10th, 2007

Why Politicians Should Know the Price of a Gallon of Milk

Gallons of Milk

How familiar should our elected officials be with their constituents? Undoubtedly, they should know how hard it is to live on the minimum wage—and how hard it is on small businesses to have that floor raised involuntarily. It might also behoove them to be aware of the price of gas and of a gallon of milk.

Unfortunately, when asked today about these staples, Rudy Giuliani put forth considerably low estimates. While seemingly trivial, I think such knowledge is important because politicians should know what life is like for those whose interests they’re supposed to represent.

To be sure, it’s unimportant for the president to have details like this at his fingertips, since he’s so far removed from you and I that he probably doesn’t even carry a wallet and certainly never pumps his own gas.

But candidates for the presidency, like members of Congress, are not constantly surrounded by a phalanx of Secret Service agents. They’re supposed to live among us, so that when Bill O’Reilly goes on his next tirade about the conspiracy of Big Oil to ratchet up prices, they can judge for themselves en route to their daughter’s weekend-afternoon soccer game.

This is what the founders envisioned when they created Congress: citizen legislators who drop by Washington as a necessary evil, not career politicians who use the capitol as an ivory tower.

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