Broken Congress

December 2, 2010

As the Congress debates the extension of tax cuts, the majority of the American public can expect to continue to be screwed by our elected leaders under our fraying democratic system where primarily elites and the wealthy are elected to office. What American earning middle class wages or less can even afford to run for office? The consequences of an aristocratic Congress is not sitting well with a majority of Americans who are struggling to survive during stressful economic times.

While only one percent of all Americans are millionaires, nearly half of our Congressional members are. A total of 535 members of the Congress are millionaires, with 55 members having a net worth over $10 million. Millionaire or not, every member of Congress earns at least the base pay of $174,000 a year, which is far more than the average US citizen earns and three to four times more than another "public servant" makes.

CBS News reported that the “median wealth of a House member in 2009 stood at $765,010, while the median wealth for a senator in 2009 was nearly $2.38 million.” Keep in mind too that the members work far less days than the average American, or an average of 129 days per year. In fact, Americans in general are fed up with the non-performance of our Congress.

Our elected officials are far removed from the reality of what it is like to be a member of the middle class in America. How many members of Congress have to make decisions like whether to buy medicine or food; whether to walk away from an underwater mortgage or stay until the house is foreclosed; or whether to pay the electric bill or the car insurance? None. Few, if any, ever stood in an unemployment line. Is it a surprise that they failed to extend unemployment benefits?

The middle class will continue to bear the brunt of the economic downfall as our self-serving Congress votes to extend tax breaks for the wealthy. We already saw how our leaders bailed out the very institutions that devastated many in the middle class by pushing bloated mortgages that are now underwater. Members of Congress defend the rich because the bulk of their campaign contributions come from the rich. Best not to upset the elite by making them pay a far share of taxes. Legislators also defend special interests based on their own personal interests. Some of the most notorious companies are likely defended by Congressional members because they are protecting their investments as WSWS reported:
Eighty-two members of Congress are invested in General Electric, followed by Bank of America (63), Cisco Systems (61), Proctor & Gamble (61) and Microsoft (54), Exxon Mobil (46), Wells Fargo (45), Berkshire Hathaway (44), Apple (42), IBM (41), Johnson & Johnson (39), JPMorgan Chase (38), Coca-Cola (39), PepsiCo (36), Wal-Mart (28) and Goldman Sachs (27).
When these firms call on legislators on Capitol Hill, they are not so much lobbying as meeting with prominent shareholders.
BP, the London-based oil giant whose profit-driven recklessness resulted in the greatest environmental disaster in US history, was invested in by 24 members of Congress, paced by John Kerry, who had BP assets estimated in value somewhere between $351,000 and $765,000.
Sixty-four members of congress had assets in Pfizer, the largest US pharmaceutical, and 80 reported significant transactions with the firm. The pharmaceuticals, insurance giants, and HMOs were well served by their Congressional investors in regard to the Obama administration’s health care “reform.” The measures passed will guarantee the profits of the major industry players for years to come, while relegating the vast majority of the population to a segregated, second-tier health care system..
Companies that screwed the American people got a bailout from the millionaire’s Congress and then they stuck it to us again by using bailout money to pay their executives millions in bonuses. Every year we see the Congress grow more divisive, more ruthless, more heartless and more self-serving.

 The Washington Post reported that "63% of Americans don't want the tax cuts for the rich extended." Was there a survey also on how many members are deaf?  Perhaps the members have forgotten their job description and who they work actually for. Here’s a hint –it’s not the lobbyists and special interest groups.


Anonymous said...

The LAME F**K CONGRESS will come up with a half-a**ed tax break extension that includes the richest of the rich. Greedy Americans are indeed ruining our democracy.

Anonymous said...

They can take care of their OWN money but not the taxpayers' money. The Bush tax cuts to the RICH proved no new business or stimulation of economy resulted. In fact, it ended in the worst economic downturn since the great depression.

Anonymous said...

It's the REPUBLICANS who insist on extending tax cuts for the wealthy, it's the spineless Democrats who will cave once again, and it's the poorest American citizens and economy that will suffer.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Did you see the story about how the Tea Party Caucus requested $1 billion in earmarks this year?

Wendy said...

Hi Angelo

No, I did not. Here is the story. They attacked President Obama and the Democrats for the deficit and then they have the audacity to push these earmarks? Talk about disingenuous!