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Congress Thinks We Are Chumps

I've never been a big fan of automatic pay raises (private and public sector) or, for that matter, cost of living adjustments (COLA's).

The fact that Congress is on track (unless Pelosi calls a special session to prevent such) to get a pay increase this year is an affront of Marie Antoinette proportions. This just in:

As Americans across the country grapple with one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression, members of Congress quietly are getting a pay raise.

Each lawmaker's annual salary is due for a $4,700 cost-of-living increase starting in January, which will amount to a cost to taxpayers of $2.5 million in 2009, infuriating watchdog groups.

In a year of financial trouble for such noteworthy causes as the United Way and The Salvation Army, both institutions known for caring for the "least of us", our Congress chose not to turn off the automatic pay increase switch they have in place before they left Washington last week.

Much has been made of Congress' low approval rating but as commenters have noted here before, most voters think poorly of every Congressman except their own.

If ever there was a time to call your own congressman it is now. Here's a suggestion: ask your congressman to either refuse the pay increase or donate the $4,700 to a worthy local charity (hint: perhaps one that helps the jobless, feed the homeless, heal the sick).


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Comments (10)

Congress Thinks KNOWS We Ar... (Below threshold)

Congress Thinks KNOWS We Are Chumps.

(Fixed it)

The nationalization of the ... (Below threshold)

The nationalization of the banking industry by the neoconservative (read: liberal/ neoliberal) Bush administration and the imminent crash of the commercial real estate sector with subsequent refusal of China to accept suddenly-junk US treasury securities, makes the old congressional pay raise issue rather unimportant these days.

It's unsecured debt that's bleeding the nation, which is under the aegis of the executive department of the US government. The executive branch can only rely now on the old mesmer of consumerism which probably will mean wage and price controls, a'la Nixon, or a very high inflation rate.

The bailout/stimulus packages seem to be hush money to Wall Street against announcing Uncle Sam is wearing no clothes to the American public. There are signs though. The war has been up-estimated to around 3 trillion dollars (with interest...to the banks of the Federal Reserve System, read China).

All this is a clue to the mystery of why the Bush administration absolutely refuses to construct the already-funded border security fence: they need warm bodies of working age to be in-country, spending money, for "consumer confidence" reasons. Which itself is a clue to why the supposed "security" hawks (neocons) use the term "keep us safe" instead of the traditional "defending the nation": "us" speaks to the soccer mom and the Lazy Boy in a consumer-shopper fat-ass kind of way that Bush thinks the rubes can handle, as when Bush told everyone to go shopping after 9/11.

To be fair to the Wizbang authors, the lashing out and flinching exercises called posts exhibit to varying degrees the inner knowledge that the management of state has not been in good hands. There are no pro-Bush posts containing objective criteria. Pro war? The war is not over yet nor its results evident that don't include having former insurgents on the US payroll or American values subservient to stop-gap measures (torture, rendition, ethnic cleansing of Assyrians and other Christians, enlistment extensions, etc.). It's always amusing (and mind-bending) when the occasional "We're winning!" post crosses my line of sight. So redolent of MACV from 1965 to 1973, or Dr. Goebbels after Stalingrad.

P.S. Thanks, HughS, for not doing any autobiographical medical posts. I had to say that. This board seems like Marcus Welby's waiting room sometimes. Like turning on the Sopranos for some Cosa Nostra action and having to listen to Tony and Dr. Melfi.

bryanD,I have no arg... (Below threshold)

I have no argument with your first and second paragraphs.

"The bailout/stimulus packages seem to be hush money to Wall Street against announcing Uncle Sam is wearing no clothes to the American public."

I still cannot claim to understand the financial situation as much as I would like but I don't see these bailouts as "hush money". As far as bailing out financial companies themselves, I see it (whether rightly or wrongly) as trying to maintain mechanisms to handle liquidity being pumped into the economy, ie, for investment, saving, etc. But I am pretty naive when it comes to finance

As far as a bailing out the auto industry, I feel these businesses should have been made to file for bankruptcy and made to devise business plans for their own revitalization. It's not like there are not successful automobile manufacturers in the USA. I guess Congress just had to pump up those that were unionized, thank you very much.

Focusing on HughS' point, I think the Congressional pay raise comes symbolically at a bad time. $4000+ is a lot of money to folks in the lower end of the economic scale who could use an extra couple of mortgage payments. And these are the families that are going to be hit the hardest during the economic downturn.

Oh, and the last paragraph in your post is tacky at the very least. Actually I think it's kind of rude.

"I don't see these bailouts... (Below threshold)

"I don't see these bailouts as "hush money"."-dave D

I borrowed a term. There is an unadvertised fact of political history though (because it puts a kink in the Great Man theory of politics): Capital and access to capital trumps the executive power of the state. Industry is capital. The entire transnational (internationalist/globalist) movement recognizes the truth that private corporations will be in the vanguard leading sovereign states by the nose into sublimating or altering national goals to fit an international agenda of which ends have been constructed by and for the interests of the movement of capital as freely as possible. The Ford Foundation is the classic prime mover in the public advocacy realm (downplaying pure greed and stressing P.I.D., i.e. poverty, ignorance, and disease issues that are more effective at being inculcated to students, teachers, medical and law organizations, public policy concerns, thereby linking public policy and profit neatly (if questions are asked at all).

"Focusing on HughS' poin... (Below threshold)

"Focusing on HughS' point, I think the Congressional pay raise comes symbolically at a bad time."

A bad time for US perhaps - but for them?

We just had an election. If you're secure in your seat, who cares about what the voters think? Two months from now, it won't matter - and two years from now there'll have been enough other distractions to make this issue moot.

I don't think any of them will feel this is enough of an issue to make any sort of symbolic gesture. They're golden, they know we have no recourse - why should they even care we're stirred up about the raise?

And besides, they DESERVE that money! They work HARD for us!

(Though you might almost wish they didn't work quite so hard passing out trillions the way they do!)

"Much has been made of Cong... (Below threshold)

"Much has been made of Congress' low approval rating but as commenters have noted here before, most voters think poorly of every Congressman except their own."

I am one of those who think poorly of every Congressman including my own. I have the dubious honor of living in New York.

Its time to give congress a... (Below threshold)

Its time to give congress a pay cut and one as well to all government employees (civilian). Layoffs are in order as well.

GM and Chrysler need to face reality; their bankrupt. No amount of loans will solve that problem. They could start by putting a 50% sale on all of their inventory after Christmas. That amount of inventory sold off at half the sticker is far more in cash than the so-called bailout will give the companies. Turn the inventory to cash and file for chapter 11. Then put a gun to the unions head. The shareholders already have been killed, so have the bond holders and soon so will the suppliers and general creditors.

Either the unions and the government get the message or the companies will be liquidated. The bond holders and secured creditors are not going to and don't have to be utterly ruined by political considerations. At this point they are better of forcing a bankruptcy than taking this bailout. GM makes money throughout the world, just not here. With a chapter 11 they could reorganize the business, shut down the hopeless plants and lines, run the ones worth keeping and import their own small cars from their overseas plants. Frankly the suits that went before congress should have told those congressional assholes to go fuck themselves with their phony piety as if that scum was actually in any position to lecture anyone about fiscal probity and fiduciary responsibility. Few things are more insufferable than be morally lectured at by a whore.

As for the Ford Foundation, that entity alone is ample reason to eliminate the non profit and charitable deduction section of the tax code. It should be liquidated, taxed on the net proceeds and the cash reverted to heirs. Let them spend,squander or wisely invest what is by right their money.

I dont think 'all' govern... (Below threshold)

I dont think 'all' government agencies should have layoffs or paycuts. Where I work we have a budget and we live within it.

Having said that cubanbob I agree with the rest of your post.

Congress knows we're not pa... (Below threshold)

Congress knows we're not paying attention. When the cat's away, the mice will play.

"I have the dubious honor o... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"I have the dubious honor of living in New York."

So who's forcing you to live in New York?






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