Skip to comments.How lawmakers clip taxpayers
Posted on 02/19/2012 5:31:47 PM PST by Graybeard58
"When the laws undertake to add ... artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice." President Andrew Jackson, 1832
Unless the injustice of those titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges are granted to rich and powerful members of Congress such as Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal; in such cases, the humble and impotent are expected to shut up and pay.
Recent reports about senators, with their $174,500 salaries, voting themselves taxpayer-subsidized haircuts from the Senate barber shop were hardly a revelation. The shop has been clipping Americans for years. Last year, its deficit was nearly $300,000, which senators covered with a government bailout. Surprised?
The shop's stylists are government employees who are paid up to $81,641 a year, almost three times the going rate in D.C., while reaping the diamond-encrusted benefits reserved for the governing class.
But senatorial perks hardly end there. They have voted themselves Social Security; inflation-protected pensions of up to 80 percent of their salary; and a 401(k)-style benefit with taxpayer matches of up to 5 percent of their pay. Senators enjoy subsidized health- and life-insurance plans. For nominal fees, they have access to the Capitol's Attending Physician's Office and a private gym with swimming pools, saunas, whirlpools and personal trainers.
In 2010, they spent an average of $3.3 million on office expenses, including salaries, mailers and domestic travel. (Foreign trips come out of a separate account, while special-interest-sponsored junkets are encouraged.) Taxpayers also pay to lease senators' cars, and senators are exempt from D.C. parking tickets. Even more egregiously, senators are free to dabble in stocks and bonds based on information they pick up in the course of their duties; insider trading in the real world, meanwhile, remains a felony punishable by long prison stretches and unlimited demagoguery from pious senators.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, but what do Americans get for their money? Senators work an average of three days a week when the Senate is in session. The rest of their time is devoted almost exclusively to campaigning and quid pro quoing with rich and powerful interests.
In a time when government debts are expressed in the tens or hundreds of trillions, the barber shop's deficit doesn't rise to the level of a rounding error. But it is emblematic of government's entitlement mentality; 24/7, senators expect to be treated like royalty and have spared no expense to set things up on Capitol Hill and its environs to ensure it happens.
Way back when, President Jackson warned, "There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses." Too bad the abuses of rich and powerful senators didn't begin and end with compelling the humble and impotent to underwrite their haircuts.
Ping to a Republican-American Editorial.
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The author forgot to mention the young pleasure boys and girls provided to members of the government at taxpayer expense.(Barney Frank and Bill Clinton come to mind.)
Egomaniacal legislators have been engaging in self-aggrandisement and exchanging privileges for cash and perks since Mesopotamia; that doesn’t make it right, it merely makes it a fact of life.
Doubt anyone’s gonna very much rein in our own domestic egomaniacs.
When the rats finally get their wish and impose social justice equality, I look forward to when the gilded suburbs of Washington DC are as prosperous as Detroit.
I look forward to the day they’re smoking ruins.
I was complaining about this crap back in the 70s. Nobody cared then. And not enough of us care now. And they know it.
Maybe every 6 months we should move the US capital to the most depressed city in the country, and by law they are not allowed to fix it up. They get 1 U-Haul trailor each for themselves and their staff to share. Now see if they prefer to live in their districts or not. Most now live in DC and the burbs around DC. Lets see what the DC lawyer and lobby dung heaps do.
Great concept. Easy to accomplish with today's technology.
Imagine what this will do to the Lobbying Industry, the Washington media, the thousands of Congressional staffers and hanger-ons. Wipe out the whole rotten mess with one stroke.