For over forty years your Commander worked in private business and was required to come to work every day in order to receive his paycheck, and earn vacation time. If you work for our government as a Senator or Congressman you don’t have to work everyday and you still receive $169,300.00 per year in pay, plus excessive vacation periods, i.e., 5 weeks beginning in August.
Actually, this is just the beginning of the deals our elected officials have voted themselves, because that does not include the perks, support staff, and special privileges that come with their lofty office.
I am certain you will be interested in looking up the The Capitol Net website, which provides details on retirement benefits, expense allowances, free franking (mailing privileges), foreign travel, outside employment limits, domestic travel to and from their Districts, foreign travel parameters, paid telephone/telegraph service, and personal staff allowances. http://www.thecapitol.net/FAQ/payandperqs.htm
If that is not enough, there are special perks that provide access to taxpayer supported dining rooms, gyms, swimming pools, barber shops, private elevators, and office supply facilities. Members can use government military aircraft at no expense. Not noted, but known to be a huge benefit is medical coverage for the members and families that cover care by any Dr. or hospital in the country.
Of interest too, are details on The Capital Net covering salaries for Federal Officials in the Legislative Branch, the Judicial, and the Executive Branch.
The current Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has access to the military equivalent of a Boeing #757 for her frequent round-trip flights home to San Francisco. Due to security reasons since 9/11, the Speaker is allowed that privilege. The Speaker is the second in the line of succession for the presidency. Her predecessor, Dennis Hastert of Illinois, used a considerably smaller aircraft for his trips home. It was deemed that she could bring up to 10 staffers with her, and that any other passengers would have to pay the government for their transportation to/from San Francisco. Talk about wasting precious jet fuel and polluting the skies! And, she continues to prohibit a vote on drilling for oil or addressing our energy needs. Apparently a small government jet does not befit the Speaker’s personal needs, but that is ok, because the taxpayers pay the bill.
Despite pronouncements by Pelosi promising five day work weeks, it is a fact that her Congress usually works Tuesday thru Thursday, providing members four full days per week to spend in either Washington or back in their Districts with taxpayer paid travel. Additionally, consider the number of vacation days taken by Congress and there are very few days left in the year in which “The Peoples Work” is being conducted, or accomplished. No wonder the 2007 Congress worked the fewest number of days since 1948, less than 139 days! (see http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/04/crawfordbound_b.html)
During our recent Primary Election Campaign consider the large number of Congressional and Senate members who were campaigning away from Washington for literally months and not attending to their sworn elected duties. Every one of those potential candidates continued to draw their $169,300.00 salary and perks and they were rarely in Washington when Congress was in session. It is hard to believe, but some of the candidates have been running their campaigns for over 18 months. Is that fair to the taxpayers and the constituents in their Districts? I feel that if you’re a member of Congress and you decide to run for the Presidency you should not collect your Congressional salary during the race. If you are not working in your elected job, why should the taxpayer’s continue to pay your salary?
Since the Democrats gained a majority in both Houses in 2006, Congress has failed to address the taxpayer’s concerns about the Housing Crisis, high gasoline prices, an energy policy package, skyrocketing medical expenses, a soft economy etc., etc., etc.
Your Commander is reminded of the long referred expression “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.
With all the perks and paid travel, an incumbent has a huge advantage when it comes time for reelection. The deck is stacked against any opponent and that is why so many incumbents are reelected and reelected, despite the fact that they really work three days or less per week with additional excessive vacation time. Now, don’t tell me how hard they work when they return to their home districts, because we all know they are hustling campaign donations for their reelections or passing out earmark pork money to assuage their donors.
Why do we permit this farce to continue? We even permit our Congressional members to vote their own pay raises, which they seem to do frequently without any report card. Are the American voter’s and taxpayer’s nuts? Are we simply dumb, gullible, uninterested, and really nuts. Your Commander thinks we are all of the above.