The Aug. 6 episode of Crossroads covers a topic anyone with a pulse is well aware of: the hypocrisy of politicians. In particular, host Joshua Philipp and guest Adam Andrzejewski take on Democratic mayors in major cities who have spent the last year calling for defunding the police while quietly beefing up their own security details. For years, politicians at all levels of government have made it clear they believe they are above the common man and woman and should not be subject to the laws and regulations they pass for everyone else, but within the last year, this hypocrisy has become shockingly apparent, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum.
From Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-Mo.) claim that she has every right to spend tens of thousands of dollars on extra private security because she has “work to do,” to former President Barack Obama holding a scaled back birthday bash that still had hundreds of attendees, our political betters truly think they shouldn’t have to abide by the same rules as the rabble. This kind of behavior undermines numerous aspects of society, whether it is trust in government to do what they’ve been elected for, or trust in the CDC to give us honest guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic. With such blatant examples of “Do as I say, not as I do,” slapping Americans in the face on a near-daily basis, it’s no wonder only 5 percent of the population has a great deal of confidence in Congress, while 4 percent of the population has none.
Philipp and Andrzejewski don’t set their sights on Congress until later in the video, however, focusing initially on local matters. It will come as no surprise that the two discuss rising crime in cities like Chicago and San Francisco when the video title is “Democrat Mayors Calling to ‘Defund the Police’ Used Taxpayer Cash to Hire Their Own Private Security,” though it’s surprising just how brazenly taxpayer funds are being diverted to protect the “elite” while ordinary citizens are robbed, beaten, and shot in their streets. Andrzejewski is the CEO of Openthebooks.com, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that researches how and where taxpayer money is spent. Curious viewers can search their municipality on Andrzejewski’s website to find out just how much of the taxpayer’s money their local government employees pocket each year through salaries and pensions.
First, though, is the topic of those cities and their mayors, who have decided no expense is too high when it comes to their own personal protection even while many of them have defunded their police departments. Their constituents, of course, are another story. But for them? The sky’s the limit. In order to find out just how much the 30 largest cities in the United States are spending on their private security details, Openthebooks.com filed FOIA requests for the amount spent on guarding their mayors over the last five years. Twenty-seven of the cities are controlled by Democrats, while three have Republican mayors. None of the Republican mayors cut their police departments, while 25 of the Democratic mayors did. The result? An uptick in crime that even the mainstream media has been forced to acknowledge.
Given that government at all levels is nearly always allergic to transparency, only five of the Democrat-run cities readily complied with the FOIA requests. The remaining 22 found reasons, often citing COVID-19 restrictions, to drag their feet when responding to Andrzejewski. The five that did supply data likely see no shame in the numbers they provided. Among the most egregious examples Andrzejewski provides are May Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Mayor London Reed of San Francisco. While not actively trumpeting to defund the police, Lightfoot has cut 400 positions from the Chicago P.D. after her predecessor, Rahm Emmanuel, had already cut 1,000 positions during his tenure. Openthebooks.com’s FOIA revealed Lightfoot has since spent $3.4 million of taxpayer money on private security, up from $2.7 million in 2015.
Reed, according to Andrzejewski’s investigations, spends $1 million more in taxpayer dollars on her private security now than what was spent in 2015. Meanwhile, as a vocal “defund the police” proponent, she’s cut $120 million from the S.F.P.D.’s budget, even as Proposition 47 dropping the shoplifting of items less than $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor has caused a surge in theft. The city is also dealing with a homeless epidemic, with 8,000 people living on their streets and 140,000 instances of public defecation, as cited by Andrzejewski. He even reminds viewers that Openthebooks.com put together a “poop map” with brown pins to show locations of reported human feces throughout the city between 2011-2019. It comes as no shock to discover this map turns the entire city brown.
Democrat Mayors Calling to ‘Defund the Police’ Used Taxpayer Cash to Hire Their Own Private Security | Crossroads [Trailer]
Watch the full episode here.
Andrzejewski and Philipp also discuss Baltimore, which spends the most to protect its mayor at $3.7 million and has long landed in the top 10 of cities with the highest per capita murder rates; San Diego, whose new Democratic mayor has cut $5 million from the police force while spending over $2 million on his own security; and Denver, which spends $1 million on private security per year while sending mental health workers to domestic violence calls. While New York City has hemmed and hawed about responding to Andrzejewski’s FOIA request, he was able to determine that Mayor Bill de Blasio spent roughly $400,000 to have a NYS police detail with him during his flash-in-the-pan presidential run, which only lasted from May to September in 2019. This after New York City defunded the police to a whopping tune of $1 billion at de Blasio’s direction.
Meanwhile, as Philipp and Andrzejewski point out, the public is staunchly against the idea of defunding the police. Polls show that 70-80 percent of the population is adamantly opposed to having funds cut to their local police department, with the remaining 20-30 percent are likely the same privileged white liberals who like to cosplay as “antifascists” on weekends by dressing all in black and burning cities down before returning to their safe suburban conclaves and bemoaning their privilege. They are free to do this, of course, because the “defund the police” mayors are also largely the “peaceful protest” mayors and won’t have them arrested, no matter how many businesses they torch.
The irony, as discussed in the video, seems to be that the mayors of these cities are under no illusions about what their measures will do to crime rates, as evidenced by their willingness to spend millions on their own security while throwing their constituents to the wolves. Though Andrzejewski is typically wont to ascribe government actions that end badly to incompetence instead of malice, in this instance, even he admits it’s unlikely these mayors don’t realize the damage their policies are causing. After all, these are the same politicians who routinely bang the “guns are the problem” drum while surrounding themselves with men and women … carrying guns. It’s maddening.
In the latter half of the video, Andrzejewski and Philipp turn the discussion from the hypocrisy of the Democratic mayors to overall government bloat and wasteful spending. As a nonpartisan organization, Openthebooks.com is as happy to go after Republicans as Democrats when they deserve criticism. Andrzejewski discusses recent work his organization has done to uncover 23 brand new, supposedly conservative Republican lawmakers who needed a mere four months of convincing to climb aboard the Pelosi Pork Train. Earmarks have been banned since 2011, but thanks to these 23 Republicans deciding conservatism is just a word and voting with Pelosi to rescind the ban, Congressional representatives can live high on the hog again.
Andrzejewski also explains that when it comes to government overspending, all politics really are local. While Americans are aware of how many members of Congress and the Senate are worth millions more than when they took office, most don’t realize just how much waste is going on in their own backyard. According to Andrzejewski’s research, 1.7 million local employees are making more than six-figure salaries. No wonder they feel they’re better than “the little guy” when the little guy often has no clue their tax dollars are going into the pockets of the people supposedly working for them in such ridiculous amounts.
So what can be done about this? Andrzejewski posits the only way to change this grifter culture is to confront these public servants and kick them out of office. Mayors like Lightfoot and Reed, who are running such large cities, only respond to money and the ballot box. The public at large only has reliable control of one of these avenues. At other local levels, however, shame is often enough to drive unscrupulous politicians and unelected officials out. Andrzejewski suggests using public forums and meetings to question those in power about how taxpayer money is being spent, especially when it is spent unwisely. Alerting the media and bringing family and friends to repeat these questions can be enough in itself for some individuals to resign in disgrace.
“Democrat Mayors Calling to ‘Defund the Police’ Used Taxpayer Cash to Hire Their Own Private Security” is an extremely important viewing that gives Americans actual dollar amounts to attach to the hypocrisy of the political class surrounding the defund the police movement, as well as government overspending in general. Andrzejewski gives multiple tips on how to use the Openthebooks.com website to find waste in local governments, as well as recommendations for following RealClearPolicy on Twitter, which consistently highlights Openthebooks.com’s #WasteOfTheDay. It’s always advisable when arguing that the government spends too much money on itself and not enough on its constituents to have real, hard numbers to back up your case, and Andrzejewski and Philipp provide that in spades.
Crossroads premiers every Wednesday and Friday at 6 p.m.—exclusive on EpochTV.
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Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.