Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GOP Wants to Control the Other Guys' Budgets

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Back in the dark ages when I was a school administrator, myself and other principals would joke about how much the public desired "discipline" in the schools.  The truth was that most parents wanted you to keep everyone else's children in line, but went off like rockets when the disciplinary measures were directed toward their own misbehaving spawn.

Hypocrisy, of course, isn't limited to schools, and sadly, it seems to be particularly pervasive in politics.  A good case in point is the opportunistic politicians who are quick to point out the other guy's faults and slow to acknowledge their own shortcomings.  Fortunately, with the advent of the internet, there are many watchdogs keeping an eye on everybody - and sanctimony no longer has to go unchecked.

Today I was leafing through the Stars and Stripes and came across a couple of good examples.  Eric Cantor, the incoming House Majority Leader who bears an eerie resemblance to a weasel with glasses, has been foaming at the mouth about government "bureaucrats" making too much money.  Apparently members of his personal staff are not bureaucrats, because Mr. Cantor's office payroll went up over eighty percent between2001 when he came to Congress and 2009 when he moved into the Minority Leader position and got a bigger staff...over eighty percent!  And when Cantor did take over the Minority Leader's office in 2009, personnel expenses there went up by over 16 percent.  Hey, big spender!

Now Cantor and other Republican leaders are pledging to cut their budgets by five percent when they take the reins of power next month.  One doesn't need to be a math whiz to figure out that even if they do cut their budgets, which they won't, their staffs have still done very nicely compared to workers in other sectors of the economy.

Michele Bachmann, a certifiable looney-toon Congressperson from the dumbest district in Minnesota, makes a nice personal income off of government farm subsidies, and she is quick to take care of her staff as well.  She has been a loud-mouthed advocate of "freezing" federal salaries, but her office payroll has increased by over sixteen percent since she arrived in Congress in 2007.

Jason Chaffetz, a Republican serving in Congress from Utah, is going to chair the House subcommittee that oversees federal government workers.  He likes to blather on about how the government must "do more with less."  But Mr Cranky Pants isn't so mean-spirited when it comes to his personal staff.  Congressman Chaffetz has given his employees an average raise of about nine percent this year.

The lesson is this:  if you have aspirations to work for the federal government, try to land a staff job with a member of Congress.  They take care of their people - and screw the rest!


Don said...

Trenchant observations, Rock. Of course, our congresspeople are pretty good at lying, too.
Just the other day, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he would have been "totally behind" expenditures for the 9/11 responders health-care bill if only hearings had been held. Last night, Rachel Maddow gleefully showed footage of Coburn's empty chair as that hearing was held, lo these many moons ago.
But perhaps Coburn eventually will argue that "totally behind" meant that he had decided never to support the measure in the first place.

Xobekim said...

My UnRepresentative to Congress, called Mr. Cantor the next Great White Hope.

Congressional staffers are notoriously underpaid. They tend to make up the difference when they go through the revolving door and become lobbyists.

The Republicans are eliminating PAY/GO and replacing it with CUT/GO. If you want to spend money you've got to cut it somewhere else. And increases in revenues won't count.

We will look back fondly on this Lame Duck Session of the 111th as the time when government worked well in Washington. Gridlock is coming back with rancor.