Our Representatives are so far out of touch there’s likely no way to explain it to them


It starts with what I can only describe as a tremendous quote…

“I think the American people should know the members of Congress are underpaid.”
Jim Moran, Democrat from Virginia, U.S. House of Representatives

Ok… here we go… an article to set the scene…

Rep. Jim Moran: ‘Members of Congress are underpaid’” (Original link no longer active.)

Tremendous in its stupidity… tremendous in its ignorance… tremendous in its identifying of an idiot… and yet… he’ll probably get re-elected.

Ok… before we get there though, to start things off… I have to ask…

Has Jim Moran lost his flippin’ mind?

Because no matter what you try to do with this quote, there really isn’t a way to make it work as a thoughtful, well-reasoned statement.

In several of the places I researched, Jim Mora makes the point that a Congressman has to pay for two places of residence… one at home and one in Washington. And…

Actually… hold on… one thing to add first…

We’ll use the total in the article, and say that most members of the United States Congress earn $174,000 per year.

I know of many parents that right now are sending their kids to college. And, between tuition and travel, room and board, books and so on, they are racking up some lovely expenses. And I thought of these parents when I began considering the words from this idiot… excuse me, this Representative… and his two-home-dilemma.

Sure… there might be scholarships and financial aid involved. When a child is sent off to college though, many times an apartment or such needs to be paid for. You know… a home away from home, from which to work out of. Many parents are doing this with a household income of far less than $174,000 per year.

Talk about scholarships though… Representatives also get some expense allowances. While I won’t go too deeply into these, one of them is called the Member’s Representational Allowance. According to what I found, in the budget year of 2011, the average MRA was well over $1 million per Representative. The figure moves a bit up or down depending on your source, but most of the differences in whether that number is above or below one million dollars annually seem to involve terminology more than the final bank balance.

This allowance pays for staff and other assorted costs associated with the position. And so, depending on what items we are including from a list that covers space and expenses of an office, a full-time staff, and… well look at that… costs of travel can in some cases fall into this allowance. Anyway… depending on what you are including, that number can be slightly below $1 million per year or, for some, nudging up into the realm of slightly less than $2 million per year. We just need to decide if we are discussing staff… staff and travel… travel and notepads… and then you can get a really good number.

Regardless… the end result is that the $174,000 is not the only source of funding involved.

Now… keep in mind… there are certain rules involved in being a politician. In one simply put thought… campaign funds can’t be used to pay work expenses, and work expense accounts can’t pay for campaign costs. Still…

Must be nice to make about $174,000 per year and not have to use any of that to pay for your office or office staff. Keep that office cost under a million, and the rest looks pretty good. And that’s without digging into how they can pay for their travel, the rules concerning mail use, and guidelines that certainly allow for other jobs and sources of income.

I dare to ask… are you feeling any more sympathy for Jim Moran and his income of $174,000?

The general idea being… plenty of American families are struggling, facing costs from two residencies, and making it work with far less.

One way they are making it work is by putting off contributions to retirement accounts.

But amazingly, this clown doesn’t seem to get it. Nope… in the middle of an absolutely historic run of virtually no accomplishments coming from Congress, and flat out ridiculous lows for approval ratings… we get fed this idea that, in my reading of it, We the People don’t understand what a U.S. Representative is offering for woefully little pay considering the factors involved.

And my response?

(Well… I’ve actually typed my response several times so far, and can’t figure out how to write a sentence respectful enough that it doesn’t include “suck it” somehow in the final phrasing.)

Apparently Washington is under the impression that all of us are bringing in $174,000 per year or more. I say that because they keep changing the rules, and yet seem to expect us to bounce right back up and sacrifice some more.

I’m watching as people can’t find full-time jobs… as people are finding medical costs still rising… and so on. (And what do you think about that Jim? “I think the American people should know the members of Congress are underpaid.”)

These politicians play this amazing game, where the dollar signs don’t add up for the real people they claim to represent.

Some of them say they will get medical for all while allowing us to keep the plans we had if we wanted to. (Well… no… many of us couldn’t.)

Some say the job market is improving. (For who? I’m serious… for who is it improving? The Affordable Care Act has basically set things up so that most places aren’t hiring anyone to work more than 20-24 hours per week. Which, you see, means they don’t have to provide health coverage… and then the people getting hired need to work two or three jobs in order to eventually meet the demands of buying the required medical insurance to avoid a fine for not having it. But… oh… look at that, the jobless claims and unemployment numbers are going down. There are more jobs. It’s working! See, America is back on track! (Balderdash.))

And now, insult after insult after government shutdown after political party posturing and finger pointing after insult hurled at the common man, some guy in a wig and a red nose decides that the $174,000 isn’t enough. He deserves more for what he isn’t doing. After all… he’s running a country. (Running it… in my humble opinion… very poorly… 200-300 feet into the ground… but, ok, running it.)

Well Representative Jim Moran, Democrat from Virginia… good luck with that thought. My guess is almost anyone in America doesn’t find much sympathy for you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here’s a funny last thought… I wonder if this is enough to get Jim… or any politician voted out of office.

Honestly, We the People should scrap the whole darn lot of them. Over the next six years, replace 100% of them… new President… 100 new Senators… 435 new Representatives… and start over.

But we won’t.

In the simplest version of the thought, quite often we’re all faced by the “devil you know” scenario. As bad as our current representation might be, when we literally or figuratively step behind a curtain to cast our vote, we might very well decide that the opposing candidate could do worse. And, as a result, a fair percentage of the 536 mentioned a moment ago will stay in place.

Jim Moran has been a member of Congress for more than two decades. And, my understanding as I write this is that he does not plan to seek re-election after his current term. So most of this article needs to be read for intent and not specifics.

The thing is… he is not alone.

Anyone recall John Boehner late in 2013? Speaker of the House John Boehner? Ok…

Early in October of 2013, most of the quotes you will see attributed to Boehner talked about not bringing a vote to the House floor, of making no compromises, and of not ending the possibility of a shut down until the Democrats negotiated.

And then… mid-October… “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.


Folks… there was no fight. The suggestions that Republicans under Boehner’s watch “fought the good fight” implies that something was attempted. And if you look at the results… yeah… no. The government was shut down for no reason at all. Nothing was attempted. There was no “good fight” at any point in the process.

We the People deserve better results… much better… not better paid.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com