Members of Congress always leave town in early August for the annual Congressional recess.
Oops. Wrong name. Some years ago, Congress changed the name of recesses to “district work periods.”
That name is supposed to give us the impression that those wallowing in the excesses of the public trough are actually working for a living.
Ain’t happening. This is an election year so most members are back in the district running for re-election. If this was an “off year” or the year between elections, many of them would be roaming the globe on taxpayer-supported congressional “codels,” which is a fancy name for “junket.”
Any way you cut it, the average member of Congress has it made. The 535 elected officials who make up the House and Senate live large at our expense. Each of them earns $174,000 a year — a salary that is nearly $100,000 above the current U.S. median household income of $70,354 a year.
They get taxpayer subsidized health care, park for free at Washington area airports, can’t be given traffic tickets when Congress in in session, dine out often with lobbyists picking up the tab and all too often use taxpayer funds to supplement their already outrageous income.
From the time they arrive in Washington, members of Congress are taught that they are part of a “special” and “privileged” class. They work out for free in taxpayer supported gyms, get free prescription drugs from a Congressional physician who usually hands out the drugs without an exam or question and enjoy numerous other “perks” of office.
They use their staffs to run personal errands, eat for free in the House and Senate restaurants by claiming that even lunch with constituents are charged off as “meals with constituents” and tell staff members to work full time to obtain “speaking gigs” with at expensive resorts.
When they go back to their districts, they often drive cars that are billed to their office accounts as “mobile district offices” and charge their campaign accounts for clothes and other personal items.
Once in a while, those who abuse the system to excess — like Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters — get caught and may receive a slap on the wrist but — for the most part — they get away with living large at our expense.
Congress is a cesspool of crooks, thieves and con artists.
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself,” Mark Twain once said.
He also said: “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
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