Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Presidents Week

Take the rest of the week off. Our leaders did.

Presidents Week

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Yo, boss, I'm taking the rest of the week off.

BE: Who would notice?

JB: Very funny. I'm serious. You should, too.

BE: You mean because of the snow?

JB: No, no. I mean because our elected leaders in Congress and the legislature are taking it off. I mean yesterday, Presidents Day, was a federal/state holiday and so, like they do for every federal/state holiday, while the rest of us get a day off, they get a week off.

BE: Seems about right.

JB: SEEMS ABOUT RIGHT?? Is it right that they constantly underscore the fact that those we elect are treated like royalty, are given or take more in benefits and perks than the majority of us who pay their salaries and foot the bill for those benefits and perks that we don't get? Does it seem right that things are getting even worse?

BE: When they're not at work they can do no harm. But what do you mean it's getting worse?

JB: Check out the story that ran last month in the Christian Science Monitor about the congressional schedule and how they now get a week off for every two weeks they work. Don't you think the rest of us might like that schedule?

BE: Why are they doing that?

JB: BECAUSE THEY CAN! GRRR! Because they give themselves full-time pay and benefits for what in Congress and our legislature amounts to a part-time work schedule. Most Americans get up every day and go to work.

BE: Well, they have a lot of responsibilty though.

JB: They have a lot of SHIRKED responsibilty. There's no federal budget agreement. There's talk of a federal government shut-down as soon as next week. The state legislature faces dealing with a $4 billion deficit, so-called reforms of its sorry self and the loss of health-care coverage for 40,000-plus working poor folks.

BE: I see your point.

JB: And. AND, did you see the piece by Amy Worden in today's Inky? Resolutions! Members of Congress and the Legislature spend their time and our money considering, printing and passing thousands of resolutions honoring Lincoln and Lithuanians and naming days for disease awareness. It's enough to make you sick!

BE: You seem overwrought. Maybe you should take some time off.

JB: GRRR!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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