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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Will Congress be paid in shutdown?

I have one question as House rebels drive the country to the brink of a government shutdown and chaos: will Congress get paid?

I'm not talking about an arrangement for our soldiers -- accruing the salary and paying it out eventually. I'm talking about whether they will be docked pay for failing to do their jobs and allow vital functions to continue to be carried out.

Rank and file members of the House and Senate, but particularly the Tea Party Caucus, ought to be placed on unpaid furlough along with much of the rest of the federal workforce. It's hard to come up with a more perfect definition of non-essential than people who think that making this nation look like a third-rate banana republic is a good day's work.

It's clear House Speaker John Boehner has lost control of the caucus he is supposed to lead. Compromise is not a four-letter word. And the nation is being controlled by a party whose president won with more than 50 percent of the vote as well as a Senate where it still commands a majority despite having lost ground last fall.

The overheated rhetoric of a rump group of people elected to government in order to destroy it (while collecting a handsome salary and excellent health benefits) cannot and should not overwhelm the majority. That is textbook anti-democracy.

Congress should forfeit all salary and benefits for the duration of the shutdown. The salaries they return to the Treasury would be a small but symbolic down payment on the deficit.

And as a penalty for their failure to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office" they should lose the health benefits and join millions of Americans struggling with inadequate private insurance or Medicare.

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Blogger Readwriteblue said...

I agree congress should not be paid during shut down. None of them. None of their aids. None of their assistants. I believe we can go a step further. If deficit spending is so important let us deduct from their pay the same percentage as the amount of deficit spending they approve. Take 2009 as an example, we took in $2.1 Tril but spent $3.5 Tril, so legislators would suffer a 40% pay and benefits cut. I believe that would help focus their minds on the problem.

April 07, 2011 7:23 AM  

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