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As Long as We Remember...

January 3, 2013

A Reckless Congress And President

Zachary Peters

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” With little signs of compromise on Capitol Hill regarding the “fiscal cliff,” we’re likely to see much of the latter. What was passed certainly proves the point.


We’ll see tax breaks on certain businesses disappear and even more taxes and fees handed out to citizens to fund our fiscally irresponsible and failing government. Seems Congress has been taking notes on how our Maryland General Assembly operates.


While we will see our taxes increase, regardless of the “cliff” outcome, our leaders will be living a little higher on the hog. Just last week President Barack Obama released an executive order giving rises in pay to his cronies, as well as all members of Congress.


First on the list was Vice President Joe Biden. Apparently when he wasn’t busy putting his foot in his mouth, the Second-in-Command did something praise worthy, earning himself a pay increase from $225,521 to $231,900.


Next were the senators and members of the House of Representatives. While their raise from $174,000 to $174,900 wasn’t as big individually as the vice president’s, their raises will still result in more costs to taxpayers.


If these raises don’t show how out of touch and unrealistic our leaders are, nothing does. While Congress continues to spend money and middle class families still struggle to make ends meet, Congress is rewarded with more of our money to continue spending our country into oblivion.


The ultimate portrayal of this reckless spending was shown in the “Hurricane Sandy Aid Package.” While there was millions, even billions, of dollars going to help those truly in need, attached to the package were also some added features.


According to ABC News:


“But it also features some surprising items: $23 million for tree plantings to “help reduce flood effects, protect water sources, decrease soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat” in forested areas touched by Sandy; $2 million to repair roof damage at Smithsonian buildings in Washington that pre-dates the storm; $4 million to repair sand berms and dunes at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; and $41 million for clean-up and repairs at eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”


So, instead of giving all of our tax dollars to those who truly need it, we also had the pleasure of paying for roof damage at the Smithsonian that “pre-dates the storm.” And the people, who attach these earmarks adding projects to this “cliff avoidance” measure, apparently deserve a pay raise – in the eyes of the president.


If a country is $16 trillion (and counting) in debt and continues to expand its budget rather than cut it, do you really think those leaders should be rewarded?


Could you honestly say that the very people who have greatly contributed to our near economic collapse deserve some added benefit, bonus, or raise? These raises and benefits further stretch the gap between the average American and our political leaders, most notably in Congress. As the local surrogates of our federal government, our representatives shouldn’t be showered with taxpayer dollars and benefits at our expense. This only makes them that much more out-of-touch with their constituents and their needs.


Making more money isn’t a bad thing, but a work ethic that supports a record of improvement and real results needs to warrant it, not to mention the money has to be there and available, not borrowed. Our federal government needs to be managed and controlled more like a business, rather than an all out deficit spending spree on programs and employees. Businesses in debt do not give raises to their employees, let alone keep spending money they don’t have. As investors in the business we call “government,” we cannot forget that our money is what is funding this beast, and at the end of the day, we are the bosses and stockholders.


Without these necessary changes in how our government is run, the taxpayers will bear the burden of out-of-control spending and reckless leadership while those we elect continue to make more money.



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