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Friday, October 13, 2006

The U.S. Congress - Our 'Moral Guardian'

MrKen is as disgusted these days with the U.S. Congress as he is with the 'Dear Leader' in the White House.

First, there are the myriad scandals - from the 'page' sex stuff to Jack Abramoff & Tom Delay. Conspiracy, influence peddling, tax evasion & hypocrisy are Capitol Hill's entrenched method of doing business.

Congress now actually 'works' less than 100 days a year. Most of what 'legislation' that it passes (or fails to pass) should cause massive riots in the streets, were not most Americans ensconced in their Imperial-induced stupor of bread, circuses and war ***. In September, citizens rioted in Hungary, when it was discovered that their government had lied to them about the economy.

For example, this summer the Senate rejected, 56-42, a bill fusing the cut in estate taxes with a $2.10 increase over three years in the $5.15 minimum wage. The bill also would have revived a host of expired tax cuts, including a business research and development credit and deductions for state sales taxes, college tuition and teachers' classroom supplies.

The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities -- found that---
  • The minimum wage now equals only 31 percent of the average wage for private sector, nonsupervisory workers. This is the lowest share since at least the end of World War II.
  • Since September 1997, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has deteriorated by 20 percent. After adjusting for inflation, the value of the minimum wage is at its lowest level since 1955.
  • While since September 1997 the minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour, the cost-of-living has risen by 26 percent.
During this same time period, Members of Congress have given themselves eight raises, worth more than $31,000, or more than $15 per hour for a 40 hour week. (Congressional Research Service, 4/18/06; CNN, 6/28/06) In June, the Republican-controlled House voted to give Congress another raise in 2007. If the Senate approves this legislation (7/28/06), members of Congress will receive an additional $3,300 in 2007, which would bring their salaries to $168,500.

*** Please refer to my previous posts reviewing the book 'Empire of Debt'.

More on our 'Moral Guardian' to come soon.


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