“Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”

It’s been more than half a century since John F. Kennedy expressed that noble sentiment in his 1961 inaugural address, and almost that long since a Democratic politician, sincere or otherwise,  publicly encouraged the American people to be selfless.

The appeal has long since been inverted: “Ask not what you can do for your country – ask what your country can do for you. Don’t hold back. Let us know if there’s anything you need or want, anything we can do for you, anything at all. No request is too outrageous. The more you ask for, the more you get. The sky’s the limit. Don’t lift a finger for yourself. Don’t worry about anyone else. Don’t worry about the cost. Here’s a cell phone. Call us if you think of anything else. Don’t forget to vote.”

The reality of JFK may not have matched the rhetoric, but at least we had the rhetoric, exhorting Americans to be bighearted and high-minded.

Now we have men like Gordon Maag and the constant cry of “me, me, me.”

Ex-justice Maag filed suit in Sangamon County Circuit Court last year, challenging a new state law requiring him and 80,000 other state retirees to start paying premiums for their own health insurance.

Unfortunately for the self-obsessed Maag, Associate Judge Steven Nardulli ruled that “health insurance benefits are not guaranteed pension benefits protected by the Pension Protection Clause.”

But Maag presses on, with a direct appeal to the state Supreme Court. He wants the taxpayers of Illinois to continue footing the bill for the ever-growing horde of retired state employees whose lavish salaries and benefits have brought our state to the brink of bankruptcy.

If he wins, it will mean higher taxes and less disposable income for all the Illinois workers lucky enough to still have jobs.

What a mensch!

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