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(WTOP)   New report shows that Congress actually has an incredibly strong work ethic, is just misunderstood   ( wtop.com) divider line
    More: Unlikely, congresses, Society for Human Resource Management  
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4790 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Mar 2013 at 11:43 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-03-12 02:06:40 PM  

Dr Dreidel: kiwimoogle84: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/senior-hill-staffers-exe mp ted-obamacare

Yeesh. Written by Ben Domenech, not known for his journalistic integrity.

But anyway, Congress is "exempt" the same way I am - because my employer offers qualifying health coverage. Grassley's amendment would have closed that program to put members of Congress on the exchanges, but Congress changed it to only apply to members of their staffs and not to the members themselves.

Yeah, it looks bad, but the Congressional health plan (really, the whole benefits package) is a gold-plated sweetheart deal anyway.

// perhaps one of the fixes will be to reinstate that amendment as intended - it should be

I'd never heard of him before- it was purely a result of my google-fu.

And yeah my employer "offers" health benefits too, but I still pay $400 a month for them for just me- not kidding. So there's got to be more to it than that. And yeah, what I'd GIVE to know what the perks are for a member of congressional staff. I'd probably die of happy.
2013-03-12 02:21:25 PM  
Actually, I'd imagine they  do work very hard. Politics is basically the art of creating long-lasting connections and manipulating people into doing what you want; that translates to things like a dinner party being work, and always being 'on'.

They just work very hard at being utter assholes.
2013-03-12 02:22:45 PM  
If I were paid like they are, got all those benefits, and only worked half a year, I wouldn't be biaotching about it like an ungrateful child.
2013-03-12 02:27:09 PM  

durbnpoisn: mod3072: xaratherus: Let's hypothetically assume that the study - which was funded and performed by the Congressional Management Foundation, so there's no possibility of bias there at all - is accurate, and they really do work upwards of 70 hours a week.

I could put in 70 hours a week at my job as well.

That doesn't mean that I'm effectively performing my job, or in fact actually accomplishing anything worthwhile.

So even if we assume that they really are working 70+ hours a week, the product of that work (or lack thereof, as the case may be) indicates that they are not working effectively.

This is basically what I came here to say. I don't give a fat flying fark how hard you say you work or how many hours you put in sexually harassing your interns. Show me some farking results, or show yourself to the door. Try walking in to your boss's office and saying "Hey boss, I didn't get a goddamn thing accomplished last month, but I worked really hard at not getting shiat done!" and see how fast your ass is standing in the unemployment line. Then again, congress has a lower approval rating than that new drug-resistant super-gonorrhea that's going around, but we keep on  re-electing the farkers, so I guess we're just really shiatty bosses.

Who do you suggest we elect?

We are stuck in a "democracy" that is totally broken.  We don't get to choose who we vote for.  People who are in control already simply prop someone up and say, "This is the person that represents our party."  There are only 2 of them in any real position to get elected.  So, you can either vote for one of them, or one of the gazillion independants who stand no chance of getting elected (thus the old adage of "choosing the lesser of 2 evils" or "wasting your vote").

If anyone has any means of fixing this short of outright revolution, I'm all ears.  Otherwise this entire conversation is nothing more than a huge, scentless, fart in the wind.

I agree, it's a shiatty situation and there are no good answers. I generally vote 3rd party if there is a candidate an they're not a complete nutter, but unless a LOT more people start doing the same, it's basically just a protest vote and I don't have any illusions that I'm actually changing anything.
2013-03-12 02:32:32 PM  
2013-03-12 02:51:44 PM  

Xythero: Cybernetic: The House was in session for 153 days in 2012. Yeah, they're totally busting their asses.

House sessions are for presenting and arguing bills.  A lot of work has to be done before that stage in the game.

I understand that. But anyone who pays attention knows that Congress is also fond of long recesses, and is loath to give them up even when pressing matters should be demanding their attention. Last year, the House adjourned 46 days before election day. It hadn't adjourned that far ahead of an election in over 50 years. Between the summer recess and the adjournment, they were in session for a whopping eight whole days.

Congress isn't broken because congressmen are lazy.  Nothing is happening because they won't compromise with each other.  And until the electorate wants something else, that is the way it will be.

Congress is broken because the quality of the people we elect to office is abysmal, on both sides of the aisle--a fact that does say something about the electorate, but says more about an election process that is so poisonous and destructive that for the most part, the only people willing to endure it are in it purely for their own self-interest.

I would estimate that at least 80% (and probably more) of our sitting congressmen are there not to fight for their constituents (although they say that during their campaigns), and not to fight for their principles (assuming they have any). They are there to get themselves set for life--and for the most part, that's exactly what happens.

Because the rewards and perks of being a congressman are substantial. While you're in office, there's the power, the prestige, the deference, the flights home on Air Force C-37A (Gulfstream V) jets, the "fact-finding" trips overseas, and the pension plan that kicks in after only five years. Afterwards, there's the corporate board seats and the seven-figure lobbying deals.

It's a sweet deal for anyone who's willing to whore himself out to get it.

/Yes, I'm cynical.
2013-03-12 02:57:33 PM  
... the opposite of 'Pro' is 'Con'.

So the opposite of 'Progress' is 'Congress'.

/Obvious Tag is Obvious
2013-03-12 03:02:40 PM  

durbnpoisn: There are only 2 of them in any real position to get elected. So, you can either vote for one of them, or one of the gazillion independants who stand no chance of getting elected (thus the old adage of "choosing the lesser of 2 evils" or "wasting your vote").

The corporate owned media certainly do spend a whole lot of time telling us that if we don't vote for the two parties they already own, we're just "wasting our vote".

The sad part is that people are so gullible that they believe it.

The last time that the rich owned all the politicians was in the Gilded Age, and as it turned out, people could elect representatives who didn't belong to any of the established parties of the day. In a very short span of time, they elected 45 representatives to Congress.

Oddly, once the established parties noticed that they were about to be made irrelevant, they suddenly decided that they should start representing the interests of the people who voted instead of just representing the obscenely wealthy.

We've done it before when the rich completely owned Congress, and we can do it again, if we stop listening to the asshats who tell us we're just "wasting our votes" if we don't keep voting for the parties that sold us out.
2013-03-12 03:14:39 PM  
it is safe to say that those people in congress are lazy, insolent pricks.
2013-03-12 03:45:25 PM  
So they work 70 hour weeks and still get nothing done?

They're not lazy; they're just horribly incompetent.
2013-03-12 03:52:22 PM  

nmemkha: So they work 70 hour weeks and still get nothing done?

They're not lazy; they're just horribly incompetent.

Check the links I posted earlier... They're getting plenty done - just not what this "research" by that lobbyist says they're doing. And not writing laws either.

Hint: You elected fundraisers, not lawmakers.
2013-03-12 04:02:38 PM  
For them, "working" consitutes ripping off the American people in order to benefit their wealthy campaign contributors while also enriching themselves and other family members at taxpayer expense.
2013-03-12 04:07:51 PM  

Dr Dreidel: And they could also be primaried by the Tea Party for daring to not punch Obama in the face when he walks by. I bet in 2008 Dick Lugar thought his seat was safe. (Ditto Orrin Hatch, but he ended up barely winning.)

That's certainly true in some cases, but not all or even most I'd wager.

And the few folks who have been primaried out have usually had that happen because the gerrymandering has created a safe seat for their party, which changed the dynamics of their individual election. So if their primary challenger won they're going to have much more job security then the person they pushed out had at any time before.

So let's call that a caveat to my caveat.

enemy of the state: I think the salaries are about $160K a year. That's squat in DC. I rent a three bedroom split level, no garage, no basement, 15 miles out of town, $2500 a month, for example. A decent house sells for a million in the burbs, probably three million in the safe parts of DC.

Every once in a while someone in the cabinet, like Tom what's his name who was head of homeland security and had two kids in college, will say they have to quit because they can't cut it financially. Tom was telling the truth. I make $120K a year, I drive a car with 260,000 miles on it, and I have $500 in the bank. And no, I don't live extravagantly, believe it or not. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't live here.

The cost of living is sky-high here to be sure, but you could be doing better. My wife and I combined make less than you (a nice chunk less, around 20%) and we live in a 3BR rented house in Montgomery County - similar distance outside of the city - no garage, no second level though we do have a 1/2 finished basement, do have a fenced yard for my gardens and the pup. Two cars, not low miles but not crazy high either, and our house is about 4-5 blocks from a red-line metro.

Our rent is $700 less a month then yours and we have more in the bank then $500 (not a TON mind you, but certainly more). Houses around here don't go for a million to buy... I mean there are those houses, sure, but even in decent neighborhoods you can easily find a nice house for half of that or less. And for rental if you looked around I'm sure you could find a better rent then what you're getting.

With an extra $20k a year I'd have that boat I want...
2013-03-12 05:05:45 PM  
I have no doubt that they have a very strong work ethic. I'm equally certain that their concept of 'work' is close to 180° off mine.
2013-03-12 05:49:35 PM  

kiwimoogle84: I was thinking more, pay them like a government servant like they should be. A comfortable 50K per year or something. You don't get rid of the pay ENTIRELY, just stop the overinflation of the salaries when equated to how much work they actually do. Maybe pay them a stipend for part of the year when they're in office- like a deployment salary. Then pay them minimum otherwise.

I'm going to disagree.  Think of the USA like a corporation with the president as the CEO and the House/Senate as boards of directors.  Even if you go outside of the USA's unusually highly paid executives, they're paid what's effectively jack.  Heck, what the average member pays to campaign for their office is often OOMs higher than their pay for the period.

I'd argue that we need to actually INCREASE their pay; but in exchange there's actually hard limits on what they can accept in the way of contributions, gifts, and whatnot.  An annual limit of $100 worth of gifts or something.

mongbiohazard: No. See the links in my previous post. Most of a congressperson's job now is fundraising for their party and their campaigns. Those "working" lunches, breakfasts and dinners? They're not getting together socially with other lawmakers to discuss legislation... They're fundraising from lobbyists.

I think you'd have more point if I hadn't listed 'Campaigning for election/re-election' as the FIRST THING in my breakout of tasks.  The only real difference between us is that I consider the things a critter does to KEEP his job as part of the job.  Want them to work more on running the country and less on keeping their job?  Alter the game.
2013-03-12 06:05:30 PM  

Gunny Walker: Cybernetic: The House was in session for 153 days in 2012. Yeah, they're totally busting their asses.

Them's schoolteacher hours.

Less, actually. Teachers work 180-185 days and if they're worth a damn typically put more than eight hours into a day
2013-03-12 06:07:04 PM  

Firethorn: I think you'd have more point if I hadn't listed 'Campaigning for election/re-election' as the FIRST THING in my breakout of tasks. The only real difference between us is that I consider the things a critter does to KEEP his job as part of the job. Want them to work more on running the country and less on keeping their job? Alter the game.

Not campaigning, fundraising. There is a difference. They're not talking to constituents and trying to raise support, they're just begging wealthy people for donations. Also their political party requires much of that fundraising to be for the party itself, not necessarily for their own reelection campaigns.

But yes, I gather we are probably largely on the same page here. And I DO want us to change the game. I support full public campaign financing.
2013-03-12 08:46:04 PM  
Someone taking The Onion seriously again?

Wait. This is real?! They're allowing congress-critters to make up their own numbers, aren't they...
2013-03-12 09:21:58 PM  
I'm assuming the "working" is recorded much the way lawyers do it.  "Oh, I thought about Joe Schmoe's case while I took a shower, better bill him another hour."

Thinking about it that way, I could easily see a congressperson "working" 70 billable hours a week.

"Let's see, I sipped some coffee while joking with a lobbyist, while I had my secretary take a look at my email for me AND I read some letters the staffer sent me [to the lobbyist, so we could both laugh.].  I did that for about 45 minutes.  Guess I might as well round up and book that as three hours..."
2013-03-12 10:22:36 PM  
That's odd. I don't recall becoming a prostitute, but apparently not only am I taking it up the ass, I'm being overbilled for it too.
2013-03-13 12:23:56 AM  
Wait, how do they account for 100% of their personal time with out allotting any time to sleep or travel?
2013-03-13 03:33:23 AM  
70 hour work weeks and they are actually making negative progress, as the deficit is growing exponentially.

I say try a 70 second work week so less damage is done!
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