To call it "bizarre" is simply an understatement. Congress voted by a landslide to slash it's own pay & benefits for its irresponsibility and past misdeeds leading to the sorry state of the nation today. This comes just days after the Congress voting to cut funds/defund ACORN because of lapses by a handful of its employees. Apparently, a condition called "RATTLING CONSCIENCE SYNROME"(RCS) is sweeping an otherwise dysfunctional, out-of-touch Congress. And it seems lots of the Congresscritters had trouble sleeping at night after the ACORN vote because of the heavy rattling due to the disproportionate punishing of ACORN. Congress will work for 1$ a day and give up health benefits. More details are awaited on the cuts.
There were spirited speeches from both sides of the aisle and competition in listing their own misdeeds/lapses/dereliction of duty and the after-effects in defense of the defunding.
Key highlights :
- Failure to stop Iraq war resulting in huge loss of lives and a total price tag of 3 Trillion - a huge cost to taxpayers.
- Failure to hold defense contractors for their violations/misbehavior.
- Failure to be the Watch dog of Wall street and becoming a lapdog instead which eventually lead to the 8 trillion $ meltdown in US and 15 trillion$ meltdown worldwide.
- Failure to catch the predatory lending practices of banks and swooning over the genius of Greenspan, Bernanke etc. Whereas ACORN had warned of the practice , as early as in 2007.
- Failure to stop foreclosures caused by the Wall street welfare kings who were bailed out , while punishing ACORN which has been fighting foreclosures.
- Failure to stop/punish companies for their offshore tax havens while punishing ACORN because 2 employees seem to give advise on tax evasion.
- Failure to reign in health insurance companies leading to the death of 45000 people a year due to lack of access to healthcare, while enjoying gold plated healthcare coverage at taxpayers' expense. Hence the vote to give up healthcare.
- And last but not least, Congress admitted its own members are no strangers to prostitutes, and it was unfair to punish ACORN.
There were more surprises. While Congress refused to give up vacation and work on healthcare reform in August, this vote happened last Saturday. And to save time, this was done in a joint session of both chambers. This highlights the severity of the RCS.
President Obama is also a victim apparently, even though he stayed out of the ACORN controversy other than condemning the misdeeds of the employees. While he has done a lot more already than his predecessor did in his 8 years at the office, the president acknowledged he has been lax on dealing with the key issues like healthcare reform, foreclosures etc. He admitted he was wrong in trying to save the for-profit insurance industry jobs, while ruthlessly cutting the auto industry jobs (whose workers were one of the few making real things) and not even trying to stop the remaining from being out-sourced. He vowed to push for Single payer healthcare and challenged Congress to get on board. He also apologised for not fighting passionately for mortgage modifications, bonus claw-backs etc as he did to push for Wall street welfare (a.k.a bail-out) and Afghan war funding. He vowed not to lecture Americans against protectionism while trying to protect the obscene profits of Big Pharma. And not to play nanny to corporations while treating public servants like teachers etc like corporate employees (merit pay blah,blah).
-Widening of social safety net for the poor and the needy, the lack of which forces organisations like ACORN to fill in the gaps. The President thundered that any cut in future funding to organisations like ACORN will be matched by increase in government involvement in social services. Republicans sighed but didn't object.
- automatic voter registration on the day when a citizen reaches voting age and on the day of citizenship for new citizens . This will eliminate the need for ACORN etc to be involved in registration drive. Once again, the Republicans seemed resigned.
Rumor says the epidemic could spread over to the even more out-of-touch Wall street corporations through their K Street lobbyists and friends in Congress. The president will sign the bill tomorrow. Rep Michelle Bachmann, Sen David Vitter will be present at the ceremony besides democrats. Not sure if Wall street folks will be there at the signing to apologise for the meltdown and the resulting job losses, foreclosures etc .If not, their representatives Turbo Tax Timmy (Geithner, who is no stranger to tax issues himself), Larry Summers and Hellacopta Ben (the man who used socialism to save capitalism) will be present anyways.
In other development, the democrats are seriously considering spinal transplant to avoid such drama in the future - by standing upto Republicans and their bullying tactics. And this will be done at their own cost, so that they will never ever forget what it is like to be spineless. The author is wondering if this could be considered as a pre-existing condition and could prove more costly.