US Congress: Greedy, Self-Serving, Yes America’s Biggest Problem. : ThyBlackMan.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


US Congress: Greedy, Self-Serving, Yes America’s Biggest Problem.

December 17, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) People used to run for congress in order to serve the nation. But that no longer seems to be the case. Today, far too many people run for congress in order to gain influence and seek personal fortune. While many may be willing to throw a bone to the American people on occasion, they’ll only do so if they can do it without hurting themselves, and always with an eye towards how the gesture will benefit them in the next election.
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Due to our apathy and ever increasing ignorance of the political process, the American people have presided over the birth of a monster – an entrenched political class whose interests are more aligned with those who seek to exploit us than they are the people they’re elected to represent.  In addition, we’ve allowed them to solidify their control over the system through CongressionalCorruption gerrymandering, or realigning, their districts in such a way that it’s next to impossible to vote them out of office. As a result, the people we elect to office as our representatives – or, employees, as it were – have become our rulers. That’s not how this nation was designed to function.
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For the past thirty years, since the Reagan administration, this nation has been in the midst of a bloodless coup. The Republican Party’s intent is to reestablish a European-like caste system here in the United States, a social order that most of this nation’s founding fathers sought to avoid, and left Europe to escape.
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Alexander Hamilton, one of the premier founding fathers of the conservative movement, said the following:
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“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people…. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive an advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.”
Debates of the Federalist Convention (May 14-September 17, 1787).
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So there has always been a strain of thought in this country incline toward subjugating the poor and middle class.  During the federalist convention there were  many who advocated that only those with property should be allowed to vote. But the majority of the founding fathers opted for equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all – with the notable exception of Black people and women, of course. That only came later, in theory.
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So why 226 years later do we find ourselves back to square one, and once again engaged in a class war?  It’s simple – greed.
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As we’ve pointed out many times before, in the new global economy, American corporations are now forced to compete with countries that pay their workers less per week than many American workers spend on lunch per day. Thus, in order to maximize their profits, U.S. corporations now have a vested interest in lowering the standard of living of the American middle class.
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That is the corporate agenda, and therefore, the Republican agenda. It’s also what accounts for the brutal attack on both unions, and our educational system – they’re attacking unions to take away the voice of the middle-class worker, and they’re attacking our educational system so we’ll be too ill-informed to see through their convoluted pretext for cutting our throats.
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A prime example of that is how we’ve allowed the corporatists and their congressional henchmen to convince us to subsidize corporations and enrich the top 1% of the population through the destruction of unions, accepting lower wages, and supporting a trillion dollar tax cut under the pretext that the rich create jobs.  That’s total and utter nonsense.
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No matter how big a tax break we give Schwinn, we’ll never be able to convince him to hire people to make bicycles that he can’t sell. While we commonly refer to “supply and demand,” in actuality, “demand” precedes “supply.”  Thus, the only way that we can get Schwinn to hire employees is to create a demand for bicycles by putting enough money in the pockets of the poor and middle class where they can afford to buy bicycles for their kids.
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Therefore,  jobs are actually created by the poor and middle class through the purchase of goods and services. And with every job created it, creates other supporting jobs. When Schwinn starts hiring people to make bicycles, others have to hire people to provide the steel and rubber used to make the bike, people have to be hired to produce, prepare, and serve the employees lunch, mechanics have to be hired to repair their vehicles so they can get to work, etc.
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So again, it’s the poor and middle class who create jobs. Clear evidence of that can be found in the fact that in spite of his huge tax cuts for the rich, under George W. Bush, the country was hemorrhaging jobs at a rate of 800,000 jobs a month.
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The American people are supposed to have a built-in defense against this sort of deception through their elected representatives. But due to our apathy, naivete, and the distractions of ESPN, BET, MTV, and our non-elected “leaders,” we continue to re-elect self-serving demagogues that we’ve allowed to become so rich and spoiled that they’ve become a class in themselves – the political class.
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While the American people have been distracted by the hot pursuit of the American dream, the political class have been busy stealing that dream from right under our nose. According to a report by ABC News, “47% of Congress Members [are] Millionaires — a Status Shared by Only 1% of Americans.” And that’s with good reason.
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The median income of the average American is $32,140 a year. On the other hand, congress has raised its own salary from $98,400 a year in 1990, to currently, $174,000. That’s a $75,600 increase, or 57%. A rank-and-file member of congress makes $1596.33 a day, and it takes him or her only 20 days to make what the average American makes a year. In addition, over and above that, In January of 2009 – during the height of the Great Recession, and while many Americans were losing their jobs and homes – congress voted each member a $93,000 raise in “petty cash.”
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Now let’s take a look at their work schedule. In January of this year they worked 6 days in January, 14 days in February, and 13 days in March. The most days they’ve worked in any month this year was in February, in which they worked 14 days. So it’s no wonder that congress can’t identify with the American people – They’ve become a subset of the very class of people that we’ve elected them to protect us from. So in essence, we’ve elected the Mafia to defend us from crime.
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So it’s time for the American people to wake up, stop whining, and retake control of our government. The way we must go about that is to review the voting records of our elected officials and vote anyone out of office who’s giving the top 1% priority over the American people. In addition, we must pressure congress to bring their salary into conformity with that of the median income of the American people, and cap it at a given percentage above the minimum wage.
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We should also require congress to be in session, at least, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 33 weeks a year, and 8 hours a day, 4 days a week for 12 weeks a year. And the salary of any legislator that’s not present should be docked. That will keep them in touch with the way the rest of America has to live.
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We should also force congress to pass a “Workers’ Bill of Rights.” If a corporation wants to do business in the United States, there should be a base set of rules that force them to act responsibly. One of those rules should be that the corporation must maintain a certain level of employment based on the profits they’re drawing out of the U.S. Market.
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And finally, we must insist that congress adhere to the principles of democracy by getting rid of all internal rules, like the filibuster, that allows one, or a handful of individual legislators, to obstruct the majority.
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So, in spite of the heated rhetoric from Obama haters on both ends of the political spectrum, congress, not the president, is without question the source of most of America’s problems. Congress controls the money, and they can vote to overrule anything that the president does. On the other hand, congress can initiate and pass laws without the president, and if he vetoes the law, they can override his veto. So while congress is free to act unilaterally, the president is limited to the consent of congress.
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Thus, while everyone seems to want to point a finger at the president, we must always keep one thing in mind – the president can’t do a thing without congress’ blessing.  Most people are fully aware of that fundamental fact, but during these challenging times, we can’t afford to make any assumptions.

Congressional Pay Analysis
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The median income of the average Middle Class American is $32,140.
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Congressional pay raises since 1990 increased from $98,400 to $174,000 in 2012 ($75,600 increase, or 57%).
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The current salary (2011-2012) for rank-and-file members of the House       and Senate is $174,000 per year ($1596.33 a day).
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It takes a congressperson 20 days to equal what the average citizen makes a year.
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Congressional Work Schedule
(2012)
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Month – Days of Work
Jan – 6, Feb – 14, Mar – 13, Apr – 8, May – 10, Jun – 13
Jul – 13, Aug – 3, Sep – 8, Oct – 5, Nov – 8, Dec – 8

 

Staff Writer; Eric L. Wattree

More thought provoking articles feel free to visit; The Wattree Chronicle.

 

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Comments

16 Responses to “US Congress: Greedy, Self-Serving, Yes America’s Biggest Problem.”
  1. independent voter says:

    Warren Buffett hasn’t had to answer for his role in the Housing crisis. Thanks to Buffett having unlimited access to the White House, he’s buying DaVita Healthcare stock to the tune of a million shares monthly. Now DaVita Dialysis Centers are sprouting up in communities faster than Family Dollar Stores. Carlin is right, people choose to remain willfully ignorant.

  2. SeattleGuy says:

    Thanks Eric and Satchel! Will do next time.

  3. Eric L. Wattree says:

    SeattleGuy,

    I have to agree with Satchel on this one. You’re trying to say too much in one breath. Much of what you say is valid and needs to be heard by the American people. But you’re doing yourself, and the information that you’re trying to disseminate, a disservice by trying to lay out a book’s worth of information in just a few paragraphs. People don’t process information in that way.

    You need to take your time, organize your information, and present it in a systematic and well documented way. If you’d do that, you’d probably have a best seller. I know I’d buy it, just based on what you’ve said here.

  4. SeattleGuy says:

    Satchel,
    You’re right! I was ranting. In essence, I do agree with Eric’s article overall but disagree with his “obama haters” comment “we’re coming after you”.

    Our congressmen talk out of both sides of their mouths all the time…caucasion, african american, latino, jewish, female, male all the like.

    Liberals, neocons, socialists, old school democrats all talk about “gun control” in the wake of Aurora shooting and Connecticut shooting – However, all them sign onto providing weapons and supplies knowingly to Salfists, Wahhabists, Al Qaeda etc when it comes to the energy agendya when they know those weapons will lead to Assad defending his country, which then leads to more bloodshed and ultimately blowback! Every pre-invasion it’s the same old crime syndicate leading the charge colored in Red and Blue – Lindsey Graham, Harry Reid, John McCain, Peter King, Charles Schumer, Rudy Guiliani. Both sides love war!

    Liberals, neocons, solicialsts, old school dems signed off to Dodd-Frank bill – The DF Bill does provide some protections in regards to consumers etc., however it doesn’t deter financial institutuions from playing casino with customer funds. Credit default swaps, derivatives, fractional reserve banking, naked shorts are all still in play and are all widely used. But the one party system passed this toothless bill. MF Global was a prime example. Anyone seen Jon Corzine perp walk yet? I havent.

    Civil Liberties – this is an easy one.

    Taxation – this is painful to watch. Taxing couples who make >$250K/year for example. If you and your spouse do decently well, both college educated and you live in New York, Bay Area, Metro LA, Seattle, Maryland/Virginia/DC that’s waaaay to low. You’re middle class at best living off that. So in essence it’s social justice. Taxation should be purposeful. When we are constantly expanding the military, expanding private security overseas, expanding domestic spying facilities the size of the Vatican (in Utah) don’t talk to me about raising taxes. Then it’s an issue of priorities. We have democratic senate and president who are supposed to people oriented, but non of them are saying a thing about the outlandish wasteful spending happening right before their eyes….TSA, NSA facilities…hell TSA just unionized…you gotta be kidding me. The Repubs want to cut programs for the people (SS, Medicare and Welfare) rather than cut bloated govt intelligence/information/military complexes which is sickening. Look at the cities in California. I did state that Wal Street transactions go currently untaxed…right there you untaxed quatrillions in revenue available but the Wal Street tax law goes unused in New York City and federally as well.

    Jobs and Healthcare are other areas as well, but I’ll keep it shorter this time.

    So those are some examples. Rhetoric to appeal to voter constiutiencies when in fact the policies don’t benefit the American people is what we hear to often and those who don’t read suffer.

  5. Satchel says:

    SeattleGuy

    That was more like a rant. I would much rather see an article written by you with some focus and a point. Can we do that.

  6. SeattleGuy says:

    Eric Waltree,

    CAUTION – Please don’t assume criticism of Obama is due to racism or because he’s black….including Susan Rice Obama is smart and he was born part of the privileged system just like other well to do politicians. His mother Anne Dunham (intelligence community), grandfather Dunham (intelligence community, father Obama (Kenyan diplomat with US State Dept ties) and step father (military community in Indonesia) looks like that of the typical high level Beltway server. So we should critique him to make him serve us and force him to perform. When the criticism is always labeled racist, you then start to create blind supporters for our highest elected black officials.
    ——————————————-
    I think people are tired of the “one party system”. We don’t owe Obama anything. Our government owes us. We pay them. And before you assume anything, no Romney wasn’t the answer either. The people deserve an anti corrupt, ethical, transparent, anti-imperialistic gov’t. Obama isn’t giving us that just like Bush and Clinton hasn’t either.

    You know it’s a game of deception played by the democrats and republicans. The truth is both sides love war and imperialism (including Obama but covertly through the blacks ops and CIA), corporate welfare (financial institutions & vulture gov’t contractors) and both sides love to oppress freedoms and liberties while giving the impression they’re making us safe. It started with Clinton’s domestic terrorism bill, Dubya’s Patriot Act and now Obama’s NDAA and his blazing through Libya and Syria. All three of these men are run by the same masters – the federal reserve and world central banks, the New World Order war machine (US and Brits, NATO, France) and the energy industry.

    Our congressmen are (with the exception of a handful) are incompetent and traitors to the American people. How many of them voted blindly for NDAA, how many of them have said anything about the bloodshed by the Africom Agenda that’s going on right now (it’s just an energy and resource grab the US/NATO/IMF), how many of them know that raising taxes won’t pay even for one months worth of our debt, how many of them didn’t say a word about as answer to creating jobs was to think of repatriating jobs or repealing Clinton’s NAFTA, how many of them know that the Dodd Frank Bill doesn’t deter shadow banking, how many of them have pushed for enacting the Wal Street 1% Tax (which does exists) which would pay for the programs that would go directly to investing in the people of the US? How many of our congressmen who watched weapons and resources go directly to terrorists groups in Libya and Syria have stopped to go “wait a second…this can’t happen”? How many of our congressmen have made a big deal about the LIBOR scandal and how it involves our own Federal Reserve, US private banks and other international banking institutuions – it’s the largest financial scandal since the ’08 Banking and Mortgage Fraud Scandal. The answer is hardly any of them?

    The federal reserve is purchasing $40B in bonds PER MONTH UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE from the treasury which are backed by DERIVATIVES? Which means – inflation (milk, bread, gas, tuition, etc.), currency devaluation and the Fed then has the right to take your property for those who may have a mortgage that’s late or in default. This is also the same tactic of covering their own bets with your property agreements that got us into trouble during ’08 crisis. Are representatives are saying nothing about this? Meanwhile in Asia some countries have entered financial agreements to deal in non-US currencies because of US currency devaluation (India, China and Japan).

    No congressmen have raised the question to Tim Geithner, Obama or Holder as to why these penalties by HSBC for laundering drug carterl money or dealing financially with enemy nations in Iran, is so low? These penalties are pathetic and unjust! Who’s going to jail – A: No one. And these penalties won’t deter these financial institutions from playing casino in the future. Obviously too big to fail still exists.

    How many of these democratic congressmen during the election who were so worried about voter fraud and voter fairness sat back and watched voter fraud in the Repulican National Convention that was carried out against Ron Paul as Romney illegally stole his delegates and forced them sign waivers to vote Romney which is a federal offense? How many of the black congressmen (both democrat and republicans) sat back and watched voter unfairness acted out against Congressman Allen West – every last vote should have been counted whether or not you’re an Allen West fan – he only had to concede b/c the votes couldn’t be finished counting before the allotted time. That’s why it’s easy to see these Congressmen are nothing but lapdogs while the people have to suffer through broken promises every 4 to 8 years.
    ———
    TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP
    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/23/everything_you_wanted_to_know_about_the_trans_pacific_partnership/
    is this the new NAFTA? The details of this has been quite secretive. If this is in line with NAFTA, what it is means is more military bases and black ops sites and cheap labor for those who have signed on to the partnership. What does this mean for the American people? – DECLINING MANUFACTURING BASE (which kills the “urban” area working class minorities withOUT college degrees…and there’s tons of those types) and it allows the military/intelligence/information industrial complexes to create false economies off the backs of regular American while they get rich. This global economy stuff is a sham for the workers- for the rich and central banks it’s a godsend. American car manufacturers, Google, Nike, microsoft, Northrup Gruman, apple, Exxon, BP, Boeing….they loooove NAFTA, GAT and the new TPP
    ———————-
    These agreements can be done with Congress. Obama doesn’t need congressional approval for signing these executive orders like NDAA. He doesn’t need congressional approval to invade Libya and Syria via the CIA ops (while avoiding call it an all invasion). This is all his stuff, so part of what you say is correct, but these Orders have his signature on them. Not anyone else’s.
    —————

    To see that we truly are under a “one party system” here are two great reads with many examples on why our Congressmen consistenly underserve us.

    ‘THROW THEM ALL OUT’ – by Peter Schweitzer
    ‘DEMOCRIPS AND REBLOODLICANS’ – by Jesse Ventura

    Sorry for the long comment, Seattle Guy

  7. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Satchel,

    I understand your point, but I’m not quite as cynical as you. God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. So I’m a firm believer in the fact that education and knowledge is the key to all of man’s problems.

    We simply have to reassess our cultural mores and make the pursuit of knowledge more fashionable – or cool – than the pursuit of fashion and bling. Then, through then acquisition of knowledge, we will acquire wisdom.

    You see, man is not simply suffering from corruption and greed, we’re suffering from ignorance, in which corruption and greed is only a symptom.

  8. Satchel says:

    Eric,

    No single action will eliminate the greed and corruption in politics. Educated voters would surely make a huge impact, but as for citizens self-educating, I only see that as being remotely possible. You would only have to look at the articles and replies on this and other Black online publications to see where our heads are. I seems like the choice of dialog is Serena’s butt, making your man happy and celebrity gossip, rather than what can I do to make a better life for myself and my people.

    If we can agree that the core problem is that more money is being spent on running for the office (Congressional District) than running the office, we can than take steps to engage in constructive dialog to solve our problems.

  9. kick rocks says:

    Wattree

    Did you not hear George Carlin? Obama is the status quo and his Republican cohort Ben Bernanke is at the printing press creating another Housing Bubble to prop up Wall Street with blessings from uninformed people such as yourself.

  10. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Kick Rock,

    I’m not gonna sit here and get in a spitball fight with someone who’s hiding behind a screen name. For all I know you could be Tavis Smiley or the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Besides, it’s quite obvious that you’re turning over buildings, LOOKING, for anything you can find to criticize Obama. That alone betrays you as a hater. So let me cut you lose with a general statement for ALL Obama haters:

    A MESSAGE TO OBAMA HATERS – WE’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER.

    There is no status more lonely than that of an exceptional Black man – he’s hated by the White establishment because he’s a threat to the status quo, and he’s hated by the Black establishment because he’s a pie in the face of their delusions of grandeur.
    .
    http://wattree.blogspot.com/2012/12/beneath-spin-eric-l_10.html

  11. kick rocks says:

    Wattree

    You must be referring to shovel ready jobs Obama joked weren’t so shovel ready with his Trillion $ Stimulus Package or when he promised to accept public campaign funds then took billions from Wall Street to buy the Ovall Office and now the fat cats are taking record profits with no job creation.

  12. Eric L. Wattree says:

    Satchel,

    The reason that it costs so much to run for office is because the money is use to control the unthinking minds of the voter. That is the point of the article. If the voters of this country would educate themselves it would take a dime to run for office, because the people would be informed enough to know who they want to vote for.
    .
    Kick Rocks, you’ve been bamboozled by Republican talking points. “Balance the budget” is Republican code for taking more from the poor and middle class. Don’t you think it’s funny that they never mention the trillion dollar plus Bush tax cut for the rich when they mention “balancing the budget?”
    .
    The best way to balance the budget is for the GOVERNMENT to create jobs for the American people by repairing our infrastructure – restoring our roads, highway system, water, dams and electrical grid, etc. – that’s something we’re going to have to do anyway. Once those jobs are created by government, it would generate more jobs in the private sector as explained in the article. Then through the creation of jobs, we generate more taxes, that can then be used to address the national debt.
    .
    Actually, it’s a very simple concept, but Republicans are demagoging the issue as a pretext for attacking the poor and middle class, and balancing the budget on their backs.

  13. kick rocks says:

    Ever heard of Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Czars, recessed appointments, War on Libya, Solyndra? Now Obama calls for a balanced approach by raising taxes on people making four hundred thousand or more which won’t run the federal government for 9 days, increasing debt by 1.4 trillion, refusing to balance the budget, and insisting that he be given unilateral power to raise the debt ceiling for two years. In 2006 then Senator Obama said it was a failure of leadership by Bush to pass this debt on to our children and grandchildren which is why he voted against raising the debt ceiling. At the very minimum, Congress should force Obama to balance the budget as all presidents have done before him and families do everyday to live witihn their means and address the nation’s debt every six months because America has a spending problem and it is time out for Obama’s shenanigans.

  14. Satchel says:

    The cost of winning a congressional (about $5 million) seat I figure to be about 28 times of the salary ($174,000) of a congressman. There is no way a member of congress can do their job along with spending the time to raise the Millions of dollars it takes to finance the next campaign, without taking the Big money of the corporations (Thank you Citizens United). We can’t force congress to do anything until we reform the way we elect our politicians.

  15. Pat says:

    An interesting article!

  16. Ulo says:

    Great article! What do you expect in a plutocracy. Michigan right to ork video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZm_gElaO5w

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