This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Are you still unemployed? Obviously it is because you are lazy. At least, many members of Congress think so, anyway.
And besides, cutting the deficit — caused by tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending increases — is much more important than paychecks for Americans. The solution to the deficit — caused by tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending increases — is to cut back on things that help the American public.
Here is Senator Gregg on CNBC (Senate salary $174,000, see benefits below**), saying that unemployment checks mean people are “encouraged not to go look for work” and “don’t want to go look for work”:
And this in the news today, In Congress, spending measures meet bipartisan resistance,
“It’s time to start paying for things,” said Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), a freshman who voted for last year’s economic stimulus bill but said she is likely to oppose the next spending package, scheduled to hit the House floor Tuesday. “We’ve done some good things, but one of the best things we could do right now is get control of our fiscal house.”
. . . Dahlkemper, facing a well-funded Republican car dealer in the blue-collar district she seized from the GOP in 2008, said businesses back home complain that they want to start hiring but are getting few applicants because Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits.
“At some point we have to pivot” away from saving the economy and start reducing the deficit, said Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.).
So remember, the deficit — caused by tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending increases — has to be brought down and the way to bring down the deficit — caused by tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending increases — is to cut back on things that help the American public, and cut back on the investments in infrastructure (the seed corn) that bring future economic growth. But not to do anything about the cause of the deficits: tax cuts for the rich and massive military spending increases.
So if you are unemployed, just remember, in Washington the people who put $13.89 trillion at risk to bail out the big Wall Street firms, $4.71 trillion disbursed with $2.01 trillion still outstanding, think this is because you are lazy.
Along with earning salaries, senators receive retirement and health benefits that are identical to other federal employees, and are fully vested after five years of service. Senators are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). As it is for federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Under FERS, senators contribute 1.3% of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2% of their salary in Social Security taxes. The amount of a senator’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of their salary. The starting amount of a senator’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of their final salary. In 2006, the average annual pension for retired senators and representatives under CSRS was $60,972, while those who retired under FERS, or in combination with CSRS, was $35,952.
NOTE: Part of the America’s Future Now conference in Washington D.C. from June 7-9 will be devoted to strategy on how the progressive movement can fight the deficit cutters. Speakers such as Van Jones, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, AFL CIO President Richard Trumka, Arianna Huffington will offer a build vision for how the progressive movement can rebuild America’s economy and put people back to work. Click here to attend.