Share This Page

What would Ben say?

| Friday, April 11, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Recently while reading Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, I became aware of the fact that those things that concern us about our public officials today were a concern of at least one of our Founding Fathers.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Franklin often had to argue for taxes for various purposes. The proprietaries would permit these while adding the exclusion of their own estates. They would receive credit for their charitable acts and other necessary actions while not expending any of their wealth or resources.

Franklin felt that he would serve the public in various capacities, but he would never accept special privileges nor would he campaign for any public office. He felt that it was wrong for anyone to make a gain from such service, though he had numerous opportunities to do so.

How different this is from today's public servants, who provide themselves with a lucrative salary, many benefits and exemptions to laws that burden the common public (health care).

Though reaching the large number of people over vast distances might require more finances today than it did more than 200 years ago, the source of these finances is troubling. To receive support from sources outside the political district causes that public servant to be indebted to those who hold the purse strings. That could be a big business, union or political party.

I am fearful of a Congress that votes along party lines (Democrat or Republican). It shows more concern for lawmakers' party than for their constituency. I think Benjamin Franklin would see this as a government that no longer speaks for the public.

Edwin Zylka

Bullskin Township

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.