Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Calpers, Vernon, Bell ... Rabe's Waste and Corruption Lottery Proposal

This isn't your ordinary rant from a crotchety old man on his front porch.

hopping mad old man

I pay my taxes and try not to cheat on them. In principle, I don't mind paying for things like schools and, say, not having cholera run rampant in my town. But I'm getting tired of hearing about pension officials getting free luxury trips and city officials giving themselves huge paychecks. I'm tired of hearing about people who - through no real work of their own - don't need ever to worry about retirement, when I'm very worried about mine.

I suspect I am not alone, and have a modest proposal. It won't fix the problem. In fact, it implicitly acknowledges that the problem will always be with us. But it will make me feel better, and might make you feel better, too.

Here it is:

All municipalities should set up a Waste and Corruption Lottery. Every year, some number of lucky residents would win, say, $10,000, tax free, to do with what they please. The number of annual winners would be based on the population of the municipality, with no employee of the municipality being eligible. Vernon would be too small to have any winners. Bell might have a dozen. LA might have a thousand such winners.

Imagine how happy the winners would be!

happy winner

In essence, in setting up this system, officials would acknowledge that there's always going to be a certain amount of waste and fraud sucking up taxpayer dollars, and that, since they can't eliminate the waste and corruption, they should at least give those taxpayers their own chance at a payoff ... a payoff that, by the way, wouldn't come close to equaling the amount of actual waste and fraud in a given city or county.

If you support this idea, sign up below and I'll forward the results to our Dear Leaders and Steve Lopez.



(Images: 100-year old man in an undated photo from the LA Public Library online photo archive. 1959: Del Moore and Diane Olson, Junior Miss Sherman Oaks from LAPL/Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection.)