The New York Times has a short article about a hit-and-run accident involving a state senator, Eric Schneiderman, who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx:
The senator...was leaving the NY1 studio in Chelsea after taping an interview when his driver hit a parked minivan and left the scene. ...
A spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman said the car's driver was a staff member, Rachel Kagan, 22, the niece of Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court nominee.
The damaged car's owner, Melissa Rabinovich, an executive editor for NY1, said it had $3,000 in damage: a cracked bumper, a damaged back panel and a cracked left taillight. She filed a police report and called Mr. Schneiderman's office on Tuesday after tracing the license plate, which a witness had noted.
The Times doesn't address the question of why a New York state senator should have a staff driver in the first place. Why doesn't he drive himself around, or take the subway or a bus like most New Yorkers who earn salaries approximating a state senator's? If he really needs to, he can hail a taxi. It's just another example of how government pay is higher than private sector pay. It isn't just the salaries, it's the perks. And the insulation from the hassles that a lot of ordinary New Yorkers deal with explains a lot. Why would a politician fight to allow private bus operators to take over canceled MTA routes, or take a hard line with the MTA union to avoid such service cuts, for example, if the politician himself is getting around town in a chauffeured vehicle? And why should New Yorkers who earn even less than Mr. Schneiderman does be taxed to pay someone to drive him around. It's outrageous.