Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Congress gets Paid during Gov't Shutdown --- Why?

Rebels Without a Clue (Paul Krugman) "So how does the government shutdown end? Ironically, considering who got us into our economic mess, the most plausible answer is that Wall Street will come to the rescue — that the big money will tell Republican leaders that they have to put an end to the nonsense. But what if even the plutocrats lack the power to rein in the radicals?"

800,000 workers are being laid off without pay (of the 2 million non-defense federal workers, not counting post office employees).

Military personnel, barring congressional action, would have their paychecks put on hold while they continue to work. Death benefits for military families will also be delayed. And the Department of Veterans Affairs says it will run out of funding for regular payment checks after only a few weeks. Although the VA will continue to provide medical care, disability payments may also be disrupted after a few weeks. (More details of how the shutdown will affect our troops and Veterans.)

Also, the special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (otherwise known as WIC), and Meals on Wheels for the elderly are also at risk.

But the multi-millionaire members of Congress will still be getting paid. So why would this be considered "essential" government spending? They work part-time, are always on vacation, and spend most of their time fund-raising.

Asked if when the government reopen, would they support back pay for laid off federal workers, Republican senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) raised concerns about government debt, and said it was too early for them to make a determination...while Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he "probably" would support the move. (Members of Congress are guaranteed to get paid regardless.)

Meanwhile, members of Congressmen are still boozing, while so many others will suffer.

Evidently, according to members of Congress, what's good for the goose is NOT good for the gander --- whether its pay during government shutdowns, healthcare mandates, cost of living adjustments, payroll taxes or income tax rates.

The government shutdown, brought on by the House in an attempt to defund and/or delay Obamacare in exchange for passing a continuing resolution to find the government, had a backroom deal:

Publicly, John Boehner was asking other members of Congress on the House floor, “Why don’t we make sure that every American is treated just like we are?” Boehner had been posturing for the C-SPAN cameras to prohibit members of Congress and Capitol Hill aides from getting thousands of dollars in subsidies for their health insurance as they joined the Obamacare-mandated insurance exchanges.

Yet, behind-the-scenes, Boehner and his aides had worked for months with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and others to save these subsidies.

According to several sources in attendance in a July meeting with Harry Reid [in the middle of the night in a dark and dank garbage-ridden back alley] John Boehner had wondered aloud whether he and Reid could quietly slip some language into a bill to "end the problem" without it receiving any public attention [so that average hard-working and poor Americans wouldn't gather their torches and pitchforks and storm the congressional ramparts].

ALSO: The lowest paid member of Congress rakes in $174,000 a year from the taxpayers, but every member of Congress has their Social Security taxes capped at $113,700. Half the members of Congress are millionaires --- and own stocks and pay capital gains taxes, which has a 23.8% tax rate and is a lower tax rate than regular hard-working peons Americans who earn between $36,250 to $87,850 a year (which is taxed at 25%).

ALSO: Many members of Congress (mostly Republicans, but some Democrats as well) are considering chained-CPI as an alternative way to calculate the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security retirees and the disabled, which would cut their monthly benefits going forward --- but the same method of calculating their COLAS on their huge taxpayer-paid congressional salaries would NOT apply.

Tell the Tea Party to Take a Seat!

For the first time in seventeen years, the United States government has shut down. Hundreds of thousands of families across this nation will be hurt by the inaction of a few politicians who have successfully hijacked their own party. The Tea Party Republicans, led by Senator Ted Cruz, were able to close the doors of Congress, over their disagreement with the Affordable Care Act; a law that will provide health care for millions of Americans who have been living their lives in fear of getting sick. When the history books are written, this law will prove to be a turning point that pointed our nation towards a more compassionate America, a country that no longer only took care of the privileged, but rather took care of all of its people. Republican or Democrat, if you're American, you should want to take care of your brother and your sister.


  1. Sequestration nation: military communities feel nation's budget stress


    Politicians filling coffers as fiscal battles rage


  2. President Barack Obama sent a letter to federal employees on Tuesday, apologizing that they have been treated like a 'punching bag' in the current political climate and promising to make sure they receive back pay once the shutdown is over.


  3. As the House Republicans glibly say on the talk shows, the Senate and the President can "solve" the problem any time they want by giving in to those who are inflicting ongoing harm to the nation. But if they do so, they will inevitably invite similarly destructive behavior in the future. When dealing with a blackmailer, extortionist, or kidnapper, it is never a wise response to give in to the demands if the blackmailer, extortionist or kidnapper is a repeat player.

    This ideological battle is not about changing a law, but subverting the Constitution. The Constitution is clear about how we change and amend laws. A shutdown is not one of the listed remedies.

    If you were looking at the Fox News website, you might think you were in a different universe than the one where everyone is talking about a government shutdown.What we have, according to the network, is a "slimdown." The government's not frozen and crippled -- it's just losing a little weight!

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren railed against Republican "hostage tactics" during a speech on the government shutdown. "In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t otherwise win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts," Warren said. "For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy."

    "Shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal," Obama said of his Republican opponents at a Rose Garden event hailing implementation of the law. "The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House; it passed the Senate. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was a central issue in last year's election. It is settled, and it is here to stay. And because of its funding sources, it's not impacted by a government shutdown."

    A petition to ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN, says the following: "The government shutdown is not the result of a legislative breakdown or both parties refusing to compromise. It is a direct result of the right-wing House Republicans' legislative strategy of taking hostages and making extremist demands that are out of touch with the American people. Report the truth: House Republicans are solely responsible for the government shutdown."


  4. For all the fighting on Capitol Hill over how to end the government shutdown, the reality is that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could do it right now if he wanted to. All Boehner has to do is bring a 'clean' continuing resolution to the House floor -- that is, a bill to fund the government without any strings attached -- and put it a vote. Most, if not all, Democrats would vote for it, and enough Republicans are publicly now on board to pass it.

    Wall Street is growing more skittish about the prospect of the U.S. defaulting on its debt now that an indefinite government shutdown has resulted from GOP House members' refusal to fund the government without hamstringing President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

    The government shutdown might be responsible for losing more than jobs. In central Idaho, a 63-year-old hiker went missing the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve after the U.S. National Parks Service was forced to send home its 16 staff employees on furlough --- now that the government has scaled back personnel in rescue agencies and park staff, the search is far more difficult.

  5. As of Thursday at 10:00 a.m., a tally showed 25 senators are donating to charity or the Treasury Department, while four are not accepting a paycheck and two are undecided. In the House, 40 representatives say they're donating to charity or the Treasury, while 47 are not accepting a paycheck (until after the shutdown) and one is undecided.

    Who's keeping their paychecks during the gov't shutdown:

    Senate (keeping):
    Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma

    Senate (undecided):
    Jeff Flake, R-Arizona
    Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi

    House (keeping):
    Danny K. Davis, D-Illinois
    Todd Rokita, R-Indiana
    William "Lacy" Clay Jr., D-Missouri
    Howard Coble, R-North Carolina

    House (undecided):
    John Campbell, R-California


  6. Congressional Perks Deemed Essential During Government Shutdown While Public Sacrifices --- Check out what Congress deems NON-ESSENTIAL and ESSENTIAL --- unfrigging-beleivable!


  7. How financial institutions can benefit from a default on government debt by betting against the U.S. with CDS (credit default swaps).