Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Bozos in the Bubble

How long can the clowns in Washington punish the rest of us with inactive, indecision and senseless favoritism to corporations?

The Bozos in the Bubble

As we head into the weekend with the debt ceiling crisis threatening to worsen an already bad economy, a couple things stick in my craw.

First and most obvious is the ongoing ineptitude of those bozos in the bubble of Washington-world -- the high-end members of the Obama administration and our sorry excuse for a Congress -- who live under the protection we provide, including top pay, pensions, perks and primo health-care, and yet consistently flub any chance to make our lives easier.

Not only are they scaring seniors with threats of curtailed, late or non-payment of Social Security checks, they rattle the rotten economy by failing to pass a simple extension of our debt to pay for the things that THEY approved.

And why not? Will one of them suffer when (a) markets fall and interest rates rise or (b) spending cuts impact stimulus efforts and stall any minor steps toward economic upturn?

Of course not. Rank-and-file members of Congress get $174,000 a-year; the House Speaker (he who can't even get a vote on the debt ceiling) makes $223,500; Senate Leader Reid makes $193,400; the president gets $400,000.

These salaries, paid by all of us who pay taxes, have increased greatly in the last decade: by $33,000 for members of Congress, by $200,000 for the president.

The MEDIAN personal wealth of members of Congress rose EVEN AT THE HEIGHT OF THE `08-`09 RECESSION (from $788,515 to $911,510), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. How much has your salary gone up? How'd your personal wealth fare over the last few years?

Also, maybe you noticed that General Electric, the world's largest maker of medical-imaging machines, this week announced it's moving it's X-ray unit to China, where it plans to invest $2 billion. In China.

The two most infuriating aspects of this? GE paid no federal taxes in 2010 on profits of $14.2 billion. And GE's boss, Jeffrey Immelt, is chairman of Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Are you shaking your head? The tax laws made by Congress allow this. The president's pick for his council turns into a cruel joke. Republicans fight against closing corporate loopholes that enable such profit-and-run policies. And the rest of us continue to pay our taxes -- each and every one of us more than GE -- to fund, perk and protect the elected "leaders" that are supposed to protect us.

Even a major GRRRR can't adequately express the level of disgust all of this deserves.

 

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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