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August 9, 2011 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Boehner and Pelosi announce the end to the House of Representatives Page Program.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy (56 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why does it cost so much per page?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 5:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Boehner and Pelosi announce the end to the House of Representatives"

Finally!

"Page Program."

Aww!
posted by hellojed at 5:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [66 favorites]


High quality paper?
posted by redspraypaint at 5:17 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Another scandal about to come out?
posted by kmz at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2011


Remember when they awkwardly thanked the pages during the debt ceiling vote? No, because it was overshadowed by Giffords' return. And the debt ceiling vote. It's funny that that was the end of the page program.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2011


wow $5 million... they'll totally balance the budge now. Hello AAA status once again!

Shame they're not replacing it with another program that brings young people into close contact with the politicians and government.
posted by inthe80s at 5:20 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where will the married Republicans find underage boys to fuck now? Won't someone please think of the Republicans???!!!
posted by MikeMc at 5:20 PM on August 9, 2011 [40 favorites]


That's like a day's worth of ammo in Iraq probably.
posted by GuyZero at 5:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


wherever will the congressmen go for sex?
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on August 9, 2011


I used to live in DC. This will definitely impact the number of middle-aged men with a hot young twenty-somethings old hanging all over them.

On the upside, both local male and female prostitutes will get a boost in their incomes.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:24 PM on August 9, 2011


Why does it cost so much per page?

Hush money.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:24 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why does it cost so much per page?

Per page charges.
posted by benzenedream at 5:27 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


wherever will the congressmen go for sex?

They'll borrow pages from the Senate and draft a press release touting improved bicameral cooperation.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:28 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to live in DC. This will definitely impact the number of middle-aged men with a hot young twenty-somethings old hanging all over them.

Pages are usually high school juniors.
posted by liketitanic at 5:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I alway found it surprising that the program survived at least two big sex scandals:

* 1983 Congressional Page Scandal
* Mark Foley Congressional Page Incident
posted by pjdoland at 5:37 PM on August 9, 2011


They were going to impose new regulations, like age limits, and age verification.
posted by silby at 5:37 PM on August 9, 2011


Missed opportunity for "Pelosi Reams Pages With Orange Colored Boehner" headline.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


And thus dies the ancient joke:

Why don't congressmen use bookmarks?
They prefer bent over pages.
posted by googly at 5:44 PM on August 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


This makes a lot of sense; since so many young people already view politics as a noble and worthwhile calling, we couldn't possibly need a program to convince anybody that there's a point to government or give anybody any reasons not to become a lobbyist right off the bat.

In unrelated news, the House will now officially become a Bring Your Own Toilet Paper facility. You ladies better not be trying to ask Rep. Pelosi to borrow some of hers in the next stall.
posted by zachlipton at 5:44 PM on August 9, 2011


Pages are usually high school juniors.

Sorry. I meant hot young teens!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 5:45 PM on August 9, 2011


They were going to impose new regulations, like age limits, and age verification.

Still no consent? Darn.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2011


I came in here to say what pjdoland said; I was surprised when the Foley case happened that the program hadn't been terminated after the earlier case.
posted by immlass at 5:52 PM on August 9, 2011


Hooray!

If there's one thing the world needs less of, it's encouragement of youngsters' interest in government, amirite?

Scandals aside, I bet it's because the kids kept calling them Boner and Pulussy.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a shame Bob Seger wasn't there to sing the program out with a chorus or two of "Turn the Page."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:07 PM on August 9, 2011


I dunno. $5 million may be peanuts compared to Medicare, but it still seems like quite a bit of money to spend on something like this, i.e. an outdated program that largely serves as a feather in a few kids' college admission apps.

The Page Program was originally for running messages between the chambers. We haven't technically needed it for the better part of a century. And the reason it costs so much is that the Pages get room and board.

I'm thinking we can probably use that money better elsewhere. I'd rather they take it and create a modern program to get more kids on the Hill, but even just cancelling it isn't the worst thing I've heard this week.
posted by valkyryn at 6:11 PM on August 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


What a shame...the Page program was only 1.341×10-4% of the 2012 federal budget (Source: Wikipedia). They should be ashamed of themselves for shutting down an amazing academic program. :(
posted by FiberOptick at 6:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


'The pages are numbered.'

(Unfortunately, I only remember the punchline.)
posted by box at 6:23 PM on August 9, 2011


I'm all for this. Just so long as we don't stop any wars or tax any rich people or corporations.

What's next? Mandatory brown bag lunches?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:23 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of the odder things that are getting cut in the government's budget balancing seem like obvious ploys for attention from a particular party's base - the push to try to defund Planned Parenthood is an obvious example. Some of them are legitimate examples of government overspending. But really? We're cutting the page program and getting rid of subsidized student loans for graduate students? Bah.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:25 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems a shame to cut a program like this when we could simply pay for it (and other worthwhile programs) but cutting out the pork barrel spend and sensible taxation policy.
posted by arcticseal at 6:37 PM on August 9, 2011


Now we're.....

puts on sunglasses

all on the same page.

YEAAAAHHH
posted by dr_dank at 6:57 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


My impression of the page program is that there was a metric shit-ton of nepotism involved. The person I knew who was a page was the daughter of a huge Republican bigshot, and that's why she got the gig. Is that typical? Because if so, I'm not sure I think it's a huge loss.
Scandals aside, I bet it's because the kids kept calling them Boner and Pulussy.
They definitely did refer to Strom Thurmond as "Spermin' Thurmond."
posted by craichead at 6:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm in a position where I occasionally spend small amounts of government money. When I do I always try to keep in mind that some group of people worked hard, quite possibly harder than me, to earn it and turn it over to the government for my use. I make an effort to see that those people are getting good value, at least as far as I can manage it, for their labor. Wasting it would seem to be a betrayal of trust between citizens, even if the amounts involved are trivial in the grand scheme of things. I feel that if the congressional page program isn't yielding good return on investment it really should go, regardless of the relatively small amounts of money involved.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was my take on it, Craichead. At first I was a little sad, "Oh there goes another old tradition flushed away without a second's thought." After a few moments of thought myself, however, I realized it was a government-funded resume filler for a very few privileged children.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:15 PM on August 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


But really? We're cutting the page program and getting rid of subsidized student loans for graduate students? Bah.
oh, good. Is this where I can bitch about the cutting of subsidized Stafford loans for graduate and professional degrees? Because I really want to do so. Pisses me off! Except that the $$ is being moved to increase Pell Grants. Great, now I'M voting against my own interests. What's the matter with Kansas? (OK, I live in DC. Whatever)
posted by atomicstone at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in a position where I occasionally spend small amounts of government money. When I do I always try to keep in mind that some group of people worked hard, quite possibly harder than me, to earn it and turn it over to the government for my use.

Excellent. That's good stewardship and everyone should work that way.

But, at some point, one must question the utility of stepping over dollars to pick up dimes.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:18 PM on August 9, 2011


Anecdata: All four people I know who were Congressional pages have gone into the helping professions or public service, and none of them were particularly privileged aside from the chance to go live in D.C. and work their asses off for a year in high school.
posted by mynameisluka at 7:38 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


year semester
posted by mynameisluka at 7:39 PM on August 9, 2011


I am honestly surprised that nobody has come into this thread and said "I was a Congressional page, and it was awesome/sucked."
posted by madcaptenor at 8:06 PM on August 9, 2011


I am honestly surprised that nobody has come into this thread and said "I was a Congressional page, and it was awesome/ I sucked."
posted by 445supermag at 8:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


independent review of the program by Strategic Assets Consulting and Fieldstone Consulting Inc.
Did those consultants also recommend that the Congress stop hiring worthless consulting companies to come to conclusions that any jackass with a calculator and one working finger could have figured out?
posted by 1adam12 at 8:45 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wish I could live in a country where young people could participate in government without being characterized as prostitutes.
posted by SPrintF at 9:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


"This decision was not easy, but it is necessary due to the prohibitive cost of the program and advances in technology that have rendered most Page-provided services no longer essential to the smooth functioning of the House."
The jokes write themselves, don't they?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:37 PM on August 9, 2011


I wish I could live in a country where young people could participate in government without being characterized as prostitutes.

Its not that the young people are prostitutes...its just that the political figures are johns.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:53 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So much for participatory democracy.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:57 PM on August 9, 2011


I figured this was due to the scandal, and wondered if there was some unknown new scandal that had come up. Anyway, this bit was kind of funny.

Instead, the statement said an independent review of the program by Strategic Assets Consulting and Fieldstone Consulting Inc. found that electronic technology makes the page job of delivering messages between House buildings and the Capitol obsolete.

So congress, which comes up with the rules and regulations and budgets for the entire country apparently felt the need to outsource the job of figuring out out where they could cut costs? Shouldn't that kind of thing, you know, be their core competency?

A lot of times outside consultants are brought in just to tell people what they want to hear, and give 'independent' recommendations that aren't tainted with whatever local drama is going on.
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Its too late for a "US Summer" so how bout we shoot for fall?
posted by Kloryne at 10:09 PM on August 9, 2011


I find the idea that this is worth it because it "helps get young people interested in congress" makes little sense. It may make kids interested in congress, but wouldn't those kids already be pretty interested? And it only affects a few kids out of millions anyway.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on August 9, 2011


Doesn't "Boehner" rhyme with "boner"?
posted by Vibrissae at 10:53 PM on August 9, 2011


Where will the married Republicans find underage boys to fuck now? Won't someone please think of the Republicans???!!!

Probably the same place that the married Democrats will go to find underage boys to fuck. You think only one side of the aisle is guilty of this? Sorry, there is no moral high ground to be found in DC. Never has been.

/snarkwar
posted by J.W. at 12:41 AM on August 10, 2011


I was a page. It was awesome. It sucked too. The accommodations weren't sparkling, but the opportunity was great and I got to stand on top of the Capitol Dome, which was truly awesome.

And my family was/is about as unconnected as you can get.

So boo.. yes, it went on my resume, but I learned a lot while doing it.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:41 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Drewbage, what were some of the lessons learned that really stuck with you from being a Congressional page?
posted by PROD_TPSL at 3:46 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The jokes write themselves, don't they?

After reading this thread, I'd say apparently not.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:02 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was a House Page. It was a phenomenal experience for me. A lot of my classmates were kids who had never traveled much outside of the areas where they grew up, so I know it was life-changing for them. I'd say the biggest thing I took away from it was the sense of community that comes from learning that there are other people out there, lots of them, who share my moral intuition that we're all obligated to care for one another and to try to make our lives and the lives of other people meaningful.

I also learned that representative democracy doesn't work the way they tell you it does in school. C-Span isn't allowed to point cameras at the back of the chamber during regular business because Congress doesn't want you to know that 99% of the time, the speakers are bloviating at an empty room. Those fancy speeches are not where the real work gets done, they're just for show. And it was eye-opening at 16 to learn that adults, even powerful, awesome ones, have bad moods and come in to work tired and make mistakes. Being around so many adults living their normal lives was a big deal for me, and it really helped me to realize that I didn't have to be perfect in order to be a responsible, well-respected person.

There were options other than shutting down the program. Staffing could have been reduced substantially without compromising supervision or the quality of the program. Field trips and other fun extras cost a lot, but aren't necessary, or the costs could have been taken out of pages salaries. The program didn't need millions of dollars for a new dorm a few years back, and my understanding is that the new building isn't even all that great. And there's tons of work to be done, beyond delivering messages, that pages could have taken over. It could have been like an Americorps for teenagers, with a large community service element in addition to the House work. The principal of the page school tried to float some of these options, including expanded work plans, but House leadership wasn't interested. They just wanted to shut the program down because it had become a hassle for everyone, in part due to recent scandals, but also because it's a pain in the ass to look after 70 teenagers full-time.

All that said, I do think that $5 million is too much to spend to send a hundred kids on an extended field trip. However, for a lot of us (most of whom were not rich or politically connected, just really, really nerdy), that field trip was life-changing, and I'm sad that future kids won't have the chance to do it.
posted by decathecting at 7:38 AM on August 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


decathecting: "All that said, I do think that $5 million is too much to spend to send a hundred kids on an extended field trip."

I can't help but read this and think about what the cost is of sending a hundred kids on an altogether different kind of trip, to fight in our endless Land War In Asia, because I suspect that not much separates each group. And I think that says a lot about where we as a country would prefer to invest in future generations.
posted by mkultra at 8:29 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


decathecting, thanks for your memories and thoughts.

mkultra, it speaks volumes of our new global perspective...

What hath we wrought?
posted by PROD_TPSL at 6:59 PM on August 16, 2011


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