Bottom feeder (adj.) – one that eats from the lowest part of the trough. (A hog eats from the bottom of the feeder.)
I can think of plenty of things I could be called (and have been) but this is not a label I would want to wear. I think that is the point. Iowa State Senator Mark Zieman (R-Postville) didn't mean it as anything but a slam. Fortunately, he was called on it immediately by a colleague in the Senate, Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs). Zieman's comment was made during a discussion of budget legislation before the Senate. Here's what he said:
"This has been quite an interesting discussion. It's quite interesting. I went down and met with the BAC Board on Monday. The Benefits Advisory Committee. Maybe let's go over and see who sits on this board. We have the Iowa State Education Association. We have the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, the School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa Association of School Boards, Retired School Personnel Association, Sheriffs and Deputies, Sheriffs Association, Iowa Association of Counties, State Police Officers, State of Iowa, Chiefs of Police Association, Iowa League of Cities, the IPERS Improvement Association, AFSMCE, and, guess what, one public member representing the taxpayer. Every fall, when I start going to meetings, I get to meetings and here they are, the bottom feeders, out there with their hand out. They've got their hand out." (emphasis mine)
Now, let me see if I understand the Senator correctly. Teachers, administrators, cops, prison guards, social workers, county and state employees. Bottom feeders? Mmmmm. Looking for a handout?
Now I am not sure about you, but Mr. Moo would not want to trade places with a prison guard in an overcrowded prison. Nor would I want to be the recipient of a federal mandate such as No Child Left Behind with no extra funds for extra requirements. And forget making a drug bust on a half crazed psycho with a gun.
Basically what the senator said was, "You, that are so fortunate to be a servant of a never satisfied public, should be grateful that you can work for 10 – 25% less than your counterpart in industry or in another state. How dare you expect to be paid in retirement for 40 years of service."
Now if the comments weren't enough come to find out that Senator Zieman has been feeding at another trough. Retirement is one thing - Handouts something different. Zieman and his wife have reportedly received over $1.4 million dollars in farm subsidies over the last nine years. They have admitted to receiving the money. That is a handout of almost $10,000 a month over the last decade. I'm sure that is more than any public employee makes in retirement. Zieman says he is opposed to farm subsidies, but will accept them as long as they exist. Oh, yeah, twist his arm.
Now, Senator, if you want to wallow in the mud, that's fine with me. If you want to slurp your subsidies out of the federal government trough, so be it. But don't you dare accuse state employees of bottom feeding with slop all over your face.