Posting has been light as of late, as I have been on the road. I am currently in our nation's capitol. I spent the day yesterday wandering around, and I am left with a few impressions. First, let me start by saying that there are not many tourists here this time of year, and the result is that there is almost no one enjoying the monuments and other national treasures. This makes seeing things pretty easy. To show you how empty it was, here is a picture I took yesterday:
One of the monuments we went to see was the Washington monument. I use this as an example of one of the things that I noticed. There is a bookstore at the entrance, and it is small (about 300 square feet). It is filled with books that tourists would buy about the capitol, includeing about a dozen books about and written by our current President. That isn't the story here. There are two employees in the bookstore. On the back wall of the outside of the store, there is a box office where another employee hands out free tickets to enter the monument itself. I am not sure what purpose these tickets serve, as they are free for the asking.
You walk about 200 yards to the base of the monument, and there are 3 police officers standing there with a man who takes your ticket so you can enter, four at a time. Not the monument, but a small building connected to the monument. This building is made of poured concrete and has thick armored doors and bulletproof glass. Inside of this building, you are xrayed, stripped, and searched by 3 unarmed security personnel, overseen by two more cops.
Moving on, you enter the base of the monument, where there are 3 employees to operate the elevator. This elevator has three stops, the base, the top floor, and the floor just beneath the top. These three employees are there to push the buttons for you. You board at the base, get out at the top, walk a flight of stairs to the floor below, and reenter the elevator.
Fifteen employees, not counting the maintenance and groundskeeping people. All of this for a small bookstore, and a monument with a total of three rooms, one of them being the lobby. In all, there were less than fifty people at the monument when I was there. Ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. It seems to me that this is a massive jobs project.