Paul Jacob

Now, this isn't the biggest scandal of our age. But it is a good marker of how Big Government institutions make room for a special class of people ? legislators and governors and such ? while treating the taxpayers who do the actual funding as little more than cash cows.

The University defended its policy, of course. It's just a few tickets, 147 for each home game.

Thankfully, some object. "I don't think it's right legislators can get tickets where the general public can't with a public entity involved. That's just wrong. It's a perk that shouldn't be there," Rep. Jack Franks, chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee was quoted, "and one I was unaware of," he added, ominously. Which is worse, I wonder, the fact that some politicians were getting cheap tickets, or the fact that others didn't know about it?

Well, I choose to believe Franks is on the side of the angels. At least he's complaining. A spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson defended the system nicely, saying "I'm sure higher ed funding, the U. of I., medical malpractice and the state budget were discussed. . . ."

Hmmm, noisy place for that discussion.

If this ticket policy were nothing more than a special frill for those who do the University big legislative favors ? a political bribe, say ? then maybe one could see the point of the policy. Maybe. If you were awfully tolerant and forgiving and not at all suspicious of power . . . and in position somehow to get the cheaper tickets.

But then why does the University grant tickets to the family members of former governors? The son of former Governor George Ryan was among the biggest ticket users. What possible use was he to the University? And the fact that his father is under indictment, is that not supposed to matter to us, either?

There is a ruling class in America, and there is a paying class ? that's us. It shouldn't take an advanced degree in sociology or economics (or even a crash course with my Common Sense e-letter) to figure this out.

America's class system is firmly in place. Read all about it in the sports section.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.