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Tell It Like It Is


Sometimes A Joke Will Make You Cry




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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

September 27, 2011 | 1,245 views | 2 comments

Harlingen, Texas, September 23, 2011: Quite often in an attempt to make light of bad situations, we offer up jokes about the causes of our discomfort. For example, there is the very old joke, which goes...Question: What is the difference between Congress and the Boy Scouts? Answer: The Boy Scouts have adult leadership. Yet, when you take time to evaluate the core of that gag line, the truth of the statement should bring tears to every eye in America. The void in leadership across that entire legislative body is so immense it staggers the imagination.

We send our senators and members of the House of Representatives to Washington with the understanding they will serve as the voice of the people. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say they will serve as representatives of their political party. Somehow, over the course of time, the purpose of those offices has been high jacked by the multiple special interests that believe the dollars they bestow upon their favorite lackeys buys them the governance of this nation.

Another truism that infects Washington can be found in the salaries and benefits we have allowed our elected officials to accumulate. Remember when you read these numbers that Congress votes all of this for itself.

People tend to judge their worth and position in society by the amount of money in their pockets. The more money you have, the more important you are in a county that must keep a scorecard on its people. With that rule of measurement the “average” family in the USA is a group of four people who have a combined income of about $51,000 a year. We have also determined that any family of four with an income of below $22,000 a year is living in poverty. These are the “poor” of America. Our President has determined that if our salary is $200,000 or more as individuals, we have joined the class of “Millionaires and Billionaires”.

Now let us look at the people we have sent to Congress. The Speaker of the House draws a salary of $223,500, so we can assume he is at least a millionaire. The majority and minority leaders of the both the House and Senate draw salaries of $193,400, so they are close to the mark. All other members have salaries of $174,000.

This does not include a minimum of almost $10,000 a year each member receives to travel inside the United States or the unlimited amounts he or she can consume on foreign travel junkets. Toss in some princely benefits such as free postage for congressional communications, their own private dining rooms, lavish furnishing allowances at the start of terms, their own gym, heavy social life, plus staffs ranging from 18 to 22 aides for representatives and between 26 and 60 aides for senators, depending upon the size of their state, plus office allowances, computer allowances and other undisclosed funds all add up to a very privileged position in life.

The maximum salaries paid each one of these assistants can be as high as $155,000 a year, perhaps higher. And all of this help is for elected officials who normally put in four days a week or less in Washington, can’t pass any meaningful legislation and haven’t even passed a budget in two years.

Now to be fair, all members of Congress do pay into Social Security. This has been the law since 1984. When they passed that piece of legislation, they also included an increase in their own salaries to cover the amount they would be required to pay into the system. Oh yes, they also receive an annual cost of living adjustment added to their paychecks...unless they vote to reject that raise.

So, since in America we measure personal importance by the size of our paycheck, these are the princes and princesses we have placed next to that Imperial Throne called the White House. When you look at it very closely and think very hard about the amount of value we are receiving for all of those dollars spent, it must sound like a very bad joke...and it must also make the people of America cry.

Semper Fidelis
 
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Your Opinions and Comments

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
September 29, 2011 11:23am
 
The throne that most of these princes and princesses belong on is white and porcelain.

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
September 27, 2011 2:43pm
 
New post.

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