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Old 09-22-2012, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 18,660,467 times
Reputation: 7751

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...Congress has gone home until after the election.

Here's an article from the NYT about what Congress accomplished this session. The author calls it one the "least productive" sessions in generations because they only managed to pass a "mere" 173 new laws.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/us...it_th_20120922

Ok...I know we face some enormous challenges as a nation, but what's wrong with that? Do we REALLY need hundreds and hundreds of new laws every year? No wonder our rules, regulations, tax code and laws are so complex that it takes thousands of lawyers to interpret them!

But, it's nobody's fault but ours. Who among us would vote for a member of Congress who went up there and didn't introduce and pass a single, solitary piece of legislation in 2 years? We expect them to DO something and that something is passing new laws.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,236 posts, read 8,810,996 times
Reputation: 3122
Reading this reminded me of this quote:

"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."--Nikita Khrushchev
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 18,660,467 times
Reputation: 7751
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
Reading this reminded me of this quote:

"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."--Nikita Khrushchev

See: Ted Stevens.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
18,087 posts, read 16,548,216 times
Reputation: 18018
The irony is they are incredibly well compensated for what little they do. The principle behind this was always the following... If you paid them well, they wouldn't succumb to bribes, cronyism, corruption... And the country continues to go broke... Does anyone else see a democracy failing?
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 18,660,467 times
Reputation: 7751
Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire View Post
The irony is they are incredibly well compensated for what little they do. The principle behind this was always the following... If you paid them well, they wouldn't succumb to bribes, cronyism, corruption... And the country continues to go broke... Does anyone else see a democracy failing?

$165,200 per year sounds like a lot of money to those of us who don't make that much, but it's really not. Taxes and contributions to their healthcare and retirement plans eat up a good bit of that base salary, just as it does for the rest of us. On top of that, they're required by law to maintain a residence in their home district or state, the cost of which varies from place to place and by individual circumstances, plus they must have a place to live DC while Congress is in session. The average apartment rental in the DC area is about $1900 per month. Most of the less wealthy members of Congress share an apartment with another member or reside in some kind of hostelry because they can't afford anything else.

It's true that Congress has a higher average net wealth than do most American's, and that about half of them are millionaires (at least on paper), but a good many of them are as average as you and I. Some, such as Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are in the hole. He has a net worth of -$32,000. One, Alcee Hastings (D-FL) ran up over $4 million of unpaid debt unsuccessfully defending himself from being removed from office as a Federal District Judge. To him, that $165,200 must seem like a God-send.

In return, they receive retirement benefits which aren't all that spectacular. They must serve for at least 5 years to get anything at all and cannot retire on full benefits until they reach age 50 AND have served for 20 years. They may begin drawing a pension at any age after completing 25 years of service, or reaching the age of 62. Their pension amount is determined by a formula which takes into account their years of service and the average of the highest of their best 3 years of service but, in no circumstance, may equal more than 80% of their salary at the time of retirement. Since a law went into effect giving them the choice of two pension plans (both available to any federal employee) the average retirement pay is just over $35,000. The highest possible retirement pay for a member leaving office right now would be $132,160, but they must have served for 25 years to get that amount.

And, yes, they do pay into Social Security.

Maybe we ought to pay them more so that more Average Joe's could afford to spend a few years in Washington.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:38 AM
 
23,864 posts, read 14,290,094 times
Reputation: 14607
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
...Congress has gone home until after the election.

Here's an article from the NYT about what Congress accomplished this session. The author calls it one the "least productive" sessions in generations because they only managed to pass a "mere" 173 new laws.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/us...it_th_20120922

Ok...I know we face some enormous challenges as a nation, but what's wrong with that? Do we REALLY need hundreds and hundreds of new laws every year? No wonder our rules, regulations, tax code and laws are so complex that it takes thousands of lawyers to interpret them!

But, it's nobody's fault but ours. Who among us would vote for a member of Congress who went up there and didn't introduce and pass a single, solitary piece of legislation in 2 years? We expect them to DO something and that something is passing new laws.
Has Obama resigned?
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
18,087 posts, read 16,548,216 times
Reputation: 18018
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
$165,200 per year sounds like a lot of money to those of us who don't make that much, but it's really not. Taxes and contributions to their healthcare and retirement plans eat up a good bit of that base salary, just as it does for the rest of us. On top of that, they're required by law to maintain a residence in their home district or state, the cost of which varies from place to place and by individual circumstances, plus they must have a place to live DC while Congress is in session. The average apartment rental in the DC area is about $1900 per month. Most of the less wealthy members of Congress share an apartment with another member or reside in some kind of hostelry because they can't afford anything else.

It's true that Congress has a higher average net wealth than do most American's, and that about half of them are millionaires (at least on paper), but a good many of them are as average as you and I. Some, such as Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are in the hole. He has a net worth of -$32,000. One, Alcee Hastings (D-FL) ran up over $4 million of unpaid debt unsuccessfully defending himself from being removed from office as a Federal District Judge. To him, that $165,200 must seem like a God-send.

In return, they receive retirement benefits which aren't all that spectacular. They must serve for at least 5 years to get anything at all and cannot retire on full benefits until they reach age 50 AND have served for 20 years. They may begin drawing a pension at any age after completing 25 years of service, or reaching the age of 62. Their pension amount is determined by a formula which takes into account their years of service and the average of the highest of their best 3 years of service but, in no circumstance, may equal more than 80% of their salary at the time of retirement. Since a law went into effect giving them the choice of two pension plans (both available to any federal employee) the average retirement pay is just over $35,000. The highest possible retirement pay for a member leaving office right now would be $132,160, but they must have served for 25 years to get that amount.

And, yes, they do pay into Social Security.

Maybe we ought to pay them more so that more Average Joe's could afford to spend a few years in Washington.
And what's that sound over yonder? Oh, it's just Nancy Pelosi's net worth doubling again

CMON!!!

Even with the benefits and salary described, they are still doing significantly better than the average American. And you and I know there is WAYYY more to the story. Even still, what do you you really think they should be paid to sit and talk all day??? Just because America gave rise to the super insanely wealthy elite, doesn't mean congress member's pay should reflect such a bloated level of income disparity.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 18,660,467 times
Reputation: 7751
Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire View Post
And what's that sound over yonder? Oh, it's just Nancy Pelosi's net worth doubling again

CMON!!!

Even with the benefits and salary described, they are still doing significantly better than the average American. And you and I know there is WAYYY more to the story. Even still, what do you you really think they should be paid to sit and talk all day??? Just because America gave rise to the super insanely wealthy elite, doesn't mean congress member's pay should reflect such a bloated level of income disparity.
Nancy Pelosi's net wealth has little or nothing to do with her Congressional salary. Her husband is rich. The same can be said for the richest person in Congress, Republican Daryl Issa. Neither of them need their salary and, in fact, may not even take it. Some member of Congress do not.

And, no, there isn't WAYYY more to the story. That's all they make. And, yes, they make significantly better than the average American. In fact, it puts them in the 93rd percentile, but they do a lot more than sit around and talk to earn it. Being a member of Congress is just about a 24 hour, 7 day a week job and most of us wouldn't want to do it.

Whether or not we're getting value for their salary is judgment call.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:21 PM
 
28,739 posts, read 31,386,740 times
Reputation: 29872
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
But, it's nobody's fault but ours. Who among us would vote for a member of Congress who went up there and didn't introduce and pass a single, solitary piece of legislation in 2 years? We expect them to DO something and that something is passing new laws.
It all boils down to 3 words: Problem. Reaction. Solution. Here's how that concept works:

Problem: Create a problem, hype a problem (real or imagined), or allow one to fester.

Reaction: Things get bad enough that the general public cries "Something must be done!".

Solution: Implement the "solution", which always involves centralizing power and control at the top. The solution is always the thing the elites wanted to do anyway.

We have been deliberately conditioned to look to the very people who are creating the problems for the "solutions".
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 18,660,467 times
Reputation: 7751
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
It all boils down to 3 words: Problem. Reaction. Solution. Here's how that concept works:

Problem: Create a problem, hype a problem (real or imagined), or allow one to fester.

Reaction: Things get bad enough that the general public cries "Something must be done!".

Solution: Implement the "solution", which always involves centralizing power and control at the top. The solution is always the thing the elites wanted to do anyway.

We have been deliberately conditioned to look to the very people who are creating the problems for the "solutions".
That process works in every field of endeavor, not just politics. Early on in my career, an old man told me how to be seen as the best employee the company has: Create a problem, then offer to solve that problem. That'll make you the hero, he said.

I never deliberately practiced that, but I've seen it done a hundred times.
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