Only 11 Things Wrong with Congress? Part 1

21 Feb

An article[1] written back in September of 2011 by Rick Newman lists 11 things wrong with Congress. Limiting as list of things wrong with Congress to only 11 took a machete the size of the Empire State building to chop down. Some points on his list I agree with and other sound like the same liberal talking points heard numerous times before. In this series, we’ll break down the 11 things Mr. Newman lists is wrong with Congress back in 2011. Has anything changed? If so has it been for the better or worse? Are any of the points valid or are they just rhetoric? It’s time to find out.

1. Too many rich people

Mr. Newman begins his list with attacking “the rich”. Yes those horrible, people who create businesses, jobs and salaries. Mr. Newman’s contention is they are so rich they are out of touch. While I would agree there are some in Congress who are out of touch with the “common man”, being rich is not a direct correlation. But why let that get in the way of some old fashioned class warfare, right? In the final sentence commenting on this point he states, “Congress may even have gotten richer, overall, thanks to the influx of new money—at a time when America as a whole is getting poorer.”

Getting poorer? What’s his point of reference? Mr. Newman doesn’t say. However, let’s look at some data from the US Census Bureau. According to historical data available [2] people of all races (their breakdown no mine) have seen the median income increase since 2008. Additionally, there was a decrease of the population earning less than $25,000 and an increase in those earning more than $25,000, from 2010 to 2011. Clearly America “as a whole” was not getting poorer at the time.

2. Automatic pay raises

Here’s a point where many people would agree with Mr. Newman. Congress should never, ever get an automatic pay increase. Most of America has to prove they deserve a pay increase from their boss (and their boss, and their boss, etc…) Not Congress though. Unfortunately instead of making a real case, again Mr. Newman trots out more class warfare rhetoric. He does make one very good, valid statement when he notes:

“Congress has voted to forego its annual raise. One bill introduced this year would cut members’ pay by 5 percent, while another would dock pay for every day the government fails to operate. But such token bills come up every now and then, and never garner meaningful support.”

How many times has the American public seen this from both sides. What appears to be one party getting a backbone and standing up for what’s right and good for the country, only to bow and kiss the feet of the opposing side when push comes to shove. And yet we the people continue to elect these same hypocrites back hoping for something different?

3. Gold-plated benefits and 4. Free parking

Mr. Newman lists these as two separate items but really free parking is just another benefit of the elected position so we’ll put them together. Indeed Congressmen get quite a few benefits for their jobs. As noted in the article, their retirement and health insurance is second to none. And we the tax payers get to foot the bill for those benefits. Mr. Newman does give this interesting statistic regarding Congressional benefits:

“A recent study by Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, two nonprofit research groups, found that fringe benefits for members of Congress are worth about $82,000 per year—which raises total compensation to well over $250,000.”

Some other, minor benefits are free parking at their job (which lets face it many Americans have) and free mail service. Listing free US Postal service as a benefit might be stretching it though. A 2010 article by Fox News [3] lists some other benefits for members of Congress. While it’s perfectly fine for someone to advance to a position which gives perks and benefits for the job, Congress should never complain about not being able to cut expenses when there is plenty of room from their own, tax payer supplied, benefits to do so.

Tomorrow we will look at another set of Mr. Newman’s 11 things wrong with Congress.

References –

  1. 11 Things Wrong With Congress – US News
  2. Historical Income Tables: People – US Census Bureau (Microsoft Excel File)
  3. How Are the Benefits? For Members of Congress, Not Too Shabby – Fox News
  4. Rick Newman Bio
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One Response to “Only 11 Things Wrong with Congress? Part 1”

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  1. Only 11 Things Wrong with Congress? Part 2 | Clearly Wrong - February 26, 2013

    […] Only 11 Things Wrong with Congress? Part 1 – Clearly Wrong […]

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