A number of former members of parliament here in Norway have over the years received higher pensions than they were supposed to. None of them spoke up -- and if one is to believe them: none of them noticed. They all accepted way more money than they were due. For several years. And they didn't notice.
I do not believe them. It is just not plausible that people who think themselves capable of running a country would not notice. And if they didn't, then by their own standards, they should have noticed and they would still be at fault. This is the way ordinary people are treated; and this is the way these politicians deserve to be treated. In my eyes, they are not special. In fact, in my eyes it is of great importance that they be treated the same as everyone else.
If any regular, blue-collar Joe got a few bucks too much on his pension, the various sharp implements the norwegian government uses for forcibly extracting money from people who owe her would be set into motion. You don't want to owe the norwegian government money. They are a pretty ruthless bunch of bullies.
Of course, the politicians in question are wriggling pathetically in the spotlight. It is rather disgusting to me that most of them seem to expect special treatment. Why on earth should we treat them differently from other people? If what they did would have ordinary people branded as criminals then the same ought to apply to them.
At the very least they need to pay back every last øre -- just like anyone else would have to. And they need to start doing it now.
Then it is only fair that they get punished in a way comparable to what ordinary people can expect if they swindle the state. If that means jail-time, I expect the politicians to grow a spine and take it on the chin.