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Comments about ‘Letter: How can Congress in good conscience receive wages for no work?’

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Published: Monday, March 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Donald: I feel your pain. For me, it was picking strawberries and beans. But, we didn't have anyone standing in our way as we toiled to produce. Unlike Democrats and Republicans.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

I agree with you Mr. Eastman but voting for Democrats is much easier than working for a living. If Democrat politicians can't tax the people who actually work enough, they will borrow it from our grandchildren! If you ask them to stop their irresponsible spending behavior they will call you "out of touch", greedy and selfish"! They will find some willing "victims" and parade them around so everyone can see the heartlessness of anyone who believes we should all work for what we receive! That is what public servants do these days, that's what those who elected them demand and if you have a message of self reliance and personal responsibility, you lose elections as per Mitt Romney!

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Thank you Mr Eastman for not pointing fingers in any one direction.

Recent "no pay" proposals were a political ploy aimed at Democrats.

In reality, the house can pass anything they want with ZERO Democratic votes.
The Senate cannot pass anything without bi-partisan support.

I am OK with that "No budget, no pay" proposal, but it must include the House and the Senate.

It is disingenuous to give a pass to the House for passing a budget when they make no attempt to garner any Democratic votes. The house budgets require only 51% to pass.

The senate must get a super majority (60 votes) to pass one.

Until these guys decide to work TOGETHER, blame is useless. Unless it is for purely partisan objectives.

one old man
Ogden, UT

But they give themselves AUTOMATIC pay raises every year. (Although they recently skipped on recently for purely political reasons. Had to fool voters.)

It's very interesting to note that the last seven years of pay raises added to their salaries an amount equal to the average annual pay of a Utah school teacher.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"but voting for Democrats is much easier than working for a living"

Have you checked on which states receive the most government assistance?

Sure looks like a lot of them dang freeloaders are pulling the "R" lever.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@Joe Blow. Actually I have checked on that and California leads all states by a wide margin where the most government assistance is given out and is definitely NOT a "R" state, is it?

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Actually I have checked on that and California leads all states by a wide margin where the most government assistance is given out and is definitely NOT a "R" state, is it?"

Ah, yes, but to earn the statement "leads all states by a wide margin" one must be talking about state taxes also.

When we look at federal taxes paid into the federal government vs federal $$ flowing back into the state from 1990 to 2009

California has paid $336 BILLION more than it received.

Utah, by comparison received almost $38 BILLION more in Federal money than it paid.

New York? paid $956 Billion more than it received.

State taxes dont matter. All state taxes are spent in the state so it is 1 for 1. State spending does not affect anyone outside of your own state. Fed $$ do.

These numbers are easily verified.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

I'm all for kicking the bums out of office. Let's start here in Utah!

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

I honestly think the best way to solve the problem is through term limits. Allow each to seek re-election once.

Congress approval is at an all time low, however most people approve of their congressman, so we keep sending the same people back. Keeping old blood there stifles ideas, entrenches people to not work together, or only work with those they have in the past.

Term limits will keep new blood flowing, clouts of seniority disappear, grudges aren't held.

I have a hard time believing there are only 535 qualified people in the nation fit for congress.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

The headline asks, "How can Congress in good conscience receive wages for no work?"

I'd love to hear many of the people in both houses of congress answer that. However, my bet is it would depend a lot on what was used for the definition of "work".

For example, there is a **lot** of "work" done to raise the funds for periodic campaigning, not to mention all the "work" of campaigning itself. Of course, there are those who fraudulently use money intended for campaigning for their own personal use. Think Jesse Jackson Jr. for one recent example.

There is also the "work" performed in providing (or getting) kickbacks or special interest attention to some piece of legislature in return for favors of various sorts. The list is very long, but you can think Sen. Menendez's trips to Caribbean island rendezvous or very favorable real estate deals for Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi for some more recent examples.

Of course, one mustn't forget all the "work" that goes into establishing the "relationships" cultivated to reap rewards after one's actual term of office. Think Al Gore and/or Bill Clinton.

Yes, there are many kinds of "work".

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Samhill

I agree with what you wrote.

However, I am curious. All of the misdeeds you highlight are Democrats.

Are you not aware of those committed by members of the GOP?

If you need help. Let me know. I would be happy to point out that the misdeeds are pretty well spread across party lines.

one old man
Ogden, UT

No, Darrel, it's not that only 535 people are QUALIFIED for office. It's only 535 who are wealthy enough with enough wealthy friends to be able to run.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

If we simply had a pay for production scheme in place... x percent of your pay for every bill passed... another x percent for every law simplified or removed... things will get done. So long as you can get paid for showing up on FoxNews or one of the Sunday morning shows, and not have to actually deliver anything... why would behavior change?

To pretend this is a partisan issue (ok, some people evidently only see the world as partisan and can't think objectively if their lives depended on it) is a most dishonest endeavor. One need not have to go much further back than Dick Cheney's closed door meetings with Oil company execs weeks before the invasion of Iraq, meetings Cheney refused to discuss and claimed presidential privilege to avoid responding to request from congress, to find examples from both sides. Greed and power corrupts equally.

Just as in marriage - you can't fix your spouse. All you can do is address issues within yourself, and create opporunities for the other to excell. Dems aren't going to fix republicans, and neither the other way around. Thay all need more mirror time, and less pointing time.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Mountanman
"If you ask them to stop their irresponsible spending behavior they will call you "out of touch", greedy and selfish"! "

I find that a lot of Republicans want to cut their own tax rates while cutting services to the poor or others who notably are not themselves. Yes, that is rather greedy (and illogical, tax cuts don't reduce deficits).

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Donald Lee Eastman" didn't you know that what applies to congress does not apply to you?

They have their own pension system and healthcare for life that are separate from everybody else.

Also, lets not forget that until recently it was legal for Congress to engage in insider trading.

TO "JoeBlow" you are confusing things. Go look at which states give the most money away through their welfare programs.

Read "These Are the 10 States That Give the Most Money & Benefits to Their Residents" at The Blaze and "The States Doing The Most (and Least) To Spread The Wealth" and 24/7 Wall St.

Most of the top 10 welfare states are liberal.

To "Darrel" better yet is to have votes of no confidence to remove politicians from office.

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

@RedShirt,

While I am not against the idea of a Recall election, they should only be done in the utmost of emergency.

The Constitution designed the whole House to be elected every two years, so as to be responsive to the will of the People. The Senate was 6 years so they can do the "right thing" without as much fear of losing support from their electors.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

While it sounds great to tie congressional pay to performance, the last thing we need is for each person in congress to get paid for every new bill they pass.

We already have way too many laws and regulations on the books, it would be an absolute avalanche if we paid them for every new law.

Now if we did that, but required them to find and repeal two silly laws for every new one they passed...that might work out.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Whosoever is without sin
[i.e, NOT voting for someone like Orrin Hatch for the last 36 years]
be the 1st to cast stones.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Darrel" what would it take for you to consider it an emergency?

Would 5 years without a budget be an emergency? How about adding $1 trillion to the budget without new revenue to support it?

Would having the US credit rating downgraded 2 times be considered a financial emergency?

How about 5 years of unemployment rates above 8% with record low labor participation rates?

At what point does the US finally get to say that a politician should be removed from office? If politicians only have to wait for the next election cycle, they know that most voters are poorly informed and only require a few good deeds just before election day to get the votes. However, if groups started to run recall elections with little warning, those politicians would have to actually work all the time to satisfy their supporters.

To "JoeCapitalist2" I like the idea of tying their wealth to the national deficit and not allowing them to vote on raises for themselves. If the deficit is 0 they get full pay, for each %GDP the deficit is, they lose 10 times that percent from their pay.

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

@RedShirt,

I agree the above is certainly bad, but no one politician can be blamed. The Consitution set the years a term was to be served so Congress could do the right thing and not have to worry about a recall election because the people didn't like how they voted. The House term is shorter because it is to be more closely linked to the will of the People, the Senate is longer because they are to be more deliberative.

If one could be definitively linked to the above causes, I would support a Recall election, but such an election is only held by his electors. Because they elected him to begin with, he probably wouldn't lose his seat.

Term limits on the other hand would eliminate the above problem across the board. No one likes Congress, but everyone loves their Congressman. Therefore we keep sending the same people back that made us hate Congress to beging with.

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