Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No paycheck for Congress? It’s a hollow gesture

From page A8 | October 15, 2013 |

The issue: Our rich representatives won’t even feel the loss
There’s a lot of grandstanding going on during the government shutdown, but perhaps none worse than the hypocritical display by members of Congress offering to forgo their paychecks.

MOST MEMBERS make $174,000 a year, so a loss of one two-week pay period, and not counting various deductions, amounts to $6,692. While losing that would get most people’s attention — and that size loss in a year, let alone a few weeks, might hurt — consider two things: First, the average net worth of a U.S. senator is $11.9 million and of a House member is $6.5 million. Their salaries are a pittance to them. Second, members of Congress are paid on the last day of each month, meaning not until Oct. 31. It’s almost certain the shutdown will be over by then.

So the gesture makes headlines, but it is essentially meaningless.

Some of the same members who have shut down the federal government, initially to make a rhetorical point about preventing access to health insurance for the lower and middle class, were willing to throw 800,000 hard-working people out of work, including people who deal with infectious disease control (before a salmonella outbreak) and emergency management personnel (ahead of Tropical Storm Karen).

Some of these same millionaires have voted recently to cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food stamps — while long-term unemployment persists. But the exclusive congressional gyms remain open.

What does it say about Congress’ concern for the little guy that members are orders of magnitude better off than even their well-off constituents, living like potentates? Is it any wonder polls show levels of confidence for Congress bordering on contempt when it comes to its ability to look out for the interests of the common man and woman?

What does it say about voters that this wealth gap might not be an issue come Election Day after such demonstrations of insensitivity.

THERE HAS BEEN a lot of finger-pointing about who is responsible for the shutdown, with some serious political scientists blaming insular voters for banding together more tightly than ever in gerrymandered blue and red districts. There’s something to that. But one thing almost all of our elected representatives have in common is that they seldom live as commoners. They’re immune to the harms they inflict. Meanwhile, their investment portfolios can make up their forsaken salaries in no time.

As of Friday, roughly 250 of the 535 representatives and senators have said they’d forgo their salaries, including one waiting until Day 10 of the shutdown. We’ve seen through their phony offer of sacrifice. So let them keep their paychecks. Empty gestures don’t buy respect.





Davis not immune: Are you ready for a big quake?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Planning begins for Davis Neighbors’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

Learn about RNA at Science Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Google Glass will be discussed, demonstrated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Cuddle up at Project Linus’ meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Tickets still available for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

International folk dancing offered Sundays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A3

Rose garden bricks to be dedicated Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

It’s About Time plays Davis Farmers Market’s Picnic in the Park

By Anthony Siino | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Register year-round at Davis Chinese School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

Have the facts before you judge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Tesla has state walking a tightrope

By Tom Elias | From Page: A4

Special-needs passengers ignored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

A cure for Davis’ problems

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

A good use for the MRAP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

Marriage vs. male instinct

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



DHS boys looking to replicate a big cross country performance

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Life without MacDonald starts Friday for DHS

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Clark recalls his hole-in-one — the first at Davis Golf Course

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Fruits of their Labor Day

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggies edge Quinnipiac in overtime

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Sports briefs: Hot Shots basketball tryouts coming up

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Junior Blue Devils strong in home debut, winning 3 on the field

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery









Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5



Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7