mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Turning A New Page In The House

The decision by the House of Representatives to end the House Page program is appropriate and wise.  At up to $80,000 per page, the cost was wildly excessive given the cuts our government needs to make.  And the program had not only been made obsolete by technology (in an age of cell phones, email and pdfs, there is not a lot of call for young people to bustle through the halls of Congress carrying messages and documents from one office to another), it was also sociologically obsolete.

The program has been around more than 200 years in various forms; things have changed.  Since the 1790s we’ve extended adolescence (perhaps for too long, but that is another matter).  Bright boys in the old days often enrolled in undergraduate college in their early to mid teens; a teen age page in those days had the same status and met the same expectations as college juniors and seniors do today.  Page is really an old fashioned word for interns; we have plenty of interns on the Hill today and they aren’t sixteen years old.

Change sometimes involve letting old customs that have outlived their usefulness die.  My Burkean side likes to hold on to traditions, but the US is at a point when we have to prepare ourselves for wholesale changes in order to hold onto anything at all.  Given those realities, congratulations to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi for taking this step.

It’s a small one, but unlike many of the other steps being taken in Washington these days, at least it’s in the right direction.

Newer Post Older Post
Features Icon
show comments
  • Andrew

    Re: Turning A New Page In The House.

    It seems to me as though that’s been going on for rather a long time!

  • Ricky Kreitner

    Why did the congressional leaders not even attempt to have a private foundation continue funding the program? At $5 million a year, I’m sure there would have been plenty of takers.

    Nonetheless, the return on that comparatively small investment—bringing politically engaged youth into direct contact the day-to-day operations of their government—is well worth the $5 million.

    My requiem, as a former page, for the program:

  • vanderleun

    And all was quiet in congress except for the heartbroken sobbing of [name deleted — too many others probably felt the same way].

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service