There is an enormous difference between the Middle America Capitol Hill lawmakers are fighting over and the lives many middle class Americans lead. Patronizing gibberish like the White House Protecting the Middle Class News¹ trumpets the importance of $2,000 to a middle class existence, $77.00 in our biweekly paychecks and a sign of the pity and contempt with which our federal overseers view us.
How should we feel about our Capitol Hill employees pontificating over our future, deciding what Americans should have and what they will allow us to keep while they drive the country to ruin?
We pay members of Congress more than middle class Americans earn.
No big news here, but it bears remembering. Capitol Hill lawmakers are not members of Middle America. We pay them too much for that. Even run-of-the-mill House members earn a six-figure, taxpayer-funded salary far above average middle class incomes, and the Speaker of the House earns almost enough to make him eligible to be clipped by the Obama anti-wealth tax.
Is Congress eager to test drive our new health care system? How about the Medicaid public option?
With insurance exchanges already being set up, Americans have a lot of adventures ahead of them maneuvering the vagaries of their new federally-controlled health care system complete with a Medicaid public option. Members of Congress are not exempt from Obamacare, but we pay them enough that they don’t have to fret over falling prey to Medicaid despite their role in creating the deficit that is stifling the economy, maintaining uncertainty, and limiting growth and job creation, creating the need for a two-tiered federal health care system.
Before we trashed private sector health care and the public option bit the dust, five Republican lawmakers proposed an amendment² to force members of Congress to try out their public option. That effort didn’t go very far. Perhaps Speaker Boehner could spearhead an effort to make sure lawmakers and their families give the Medicaid public option a try for a month or two each year. The president would probably appreciate some feedback from lawmakers on his big government health care system for the masses.
For middle class Americans income and employment will still have a lot to do with who their health care providers are. If you have lost your job you might need to learn a foreign language to understand your Obamacare Medicaid doctor. Members of Congress don’t have to worry about that unless they commit an act so foul that they are incapable of reelection and future employment. Even then, many are as wealthy as the rich they condemn, so losing that fat congressional salary will probably make little difference.
How’s that 401k pension working out? Do you plan to eat after you retire?
What will members of Congress do when they are forced to agree on a state pension bailout? Their own federal retirement benefits are uncomfortably close to what we offer teachers and public servants.
Federal lawmakers pay into Social Security like the rest of us, but they are also granted a pension after as little as five years’ public service. They can reap retirement earnings as high as 80% of their final pay.³ They also have a Thrift Savings Plan, a sort of congressional 401k add-on eligible for a 5% taxpayer-funded match.4 Does that sound pretty close to what your company offers you, or did you get a 401k that already went to paying the bills when your company failed during the Obama recovery?
Accountability? Harry Reid’s job reviews are few and far between.
Accountability is in short supply on Capitol Hill. Senators only have to face the wrath of their constituents every six years and House members every two, still a better deal than middle class employees having to sweat a pink slip every time their company faces a downturn.
If you are unemployed you can reduce that $2,000 tax hike the president talks about if you have no income, something Democratic legislators might wish to consider while they tell us $2,000 is a matter of life and death for Middle America. Destitution is relative. Those who make up the millions of long-term unemployed might take a dim view of the $2,000 crumbs of cake being proffered by patronizing lawmakers.
Republicans might want to give their stance some thought, too. They have spent the last few years accusing their opposition of failing to create jobs while they continue to advocate cancelling unemployment insurance extensions. Do they want to send the message that long-term unemployment is the fault of the White House and Democrats in Congress, or further alienate voters by blaming Americans for refusing to find work?
Does Middle America deserve Capitol Hill’s contempt?
Democratic lawmakers are wise enough to know that the middle class has the most value if it stays right where it is (see: America Thrives on Social Inequality. So Does Obama). What they can and should despise are middle class Americans who take the bait instead of rejecting the federal money grab made in their names that will not reduce the deficit or improve their lives, but will be spent to keep Democratic special interests happy. Rubes in Middle America deserve to be pitied and despised if dependence is what they seek. They need look no farther than those who claim to fight on their behalf.