If you wonder whether or not the GOP Congress has lost touch with the reality of everyday American’s lives, stop. Representative Jason Chaffetz, famous Benghazi chaser, who is resigning citing “financial concerns” as a major reason, wants us to give lawmakers an additional $30,000 a year each to pay for housing, or $2,500 a month. That is, over and above the $174,000 dollars a year they are given as a salary.
What Chaffetz has forgotten? Fifty percent of America lives on less than that “housing allowance” alone, around $29,000 a year and they work harder while doing it.
While Chaffetz said $174,000 a year is a “handsome” congressional salary, he explained that subsidizing lawmakers’ housing costs in the pricey D.C. metro area could actually save taxpayer dollars. If he had a proper home in Washington rather than a cot in his office, Chaffetz said, he wouldn’t need to fly home every week on the taxpayers’ dime, and his wife, Julie, could visit more often.
Or, he could sleep on that cot and realize that he already has more than 93 percent of his fellow Americans, as our Congresspeople’s salary puts them in the top 7 percent of earners in the country. Honestly, they are making that money to work less than half the number of days that Americans usually work, 133 compared to 240 days a year.
But, hey, if he wants it to be even easier on them to serve, and more profitable, perhaps what we really need is to take one year of that money he wants us to spend, so that Congressmen can live a more comfortable rich life –approximately $16 million for all 535 members of Congress — to build them an apartment-style housing unit. One that they won’t be “too comfortable” in like they want to do for the working people who rely on HUD for low-income housing. In fact, have HUD build it to be identical to the buildings they put together for the people that Congress is supposed to serve. Same amenities, same contractors, same materials, same management companies and the same budget.
His reasoning was that non-millionaires could participate if their families could join them in DC, it would also be “cheaper”:
It “would allow the non-millionaires to participate and you would be able to have your spouse join you here,” said Chaffetz, 50, who’s spent 1,500 nights away from his wife and children during his eight-plus years in Congress. “If I wasn’t buying as many airline tickets, it would ultimately be less expensive.”
Well, that seems like a lot, 1,500 nights away from his children in 8 years? Let’s compare that to an over the road truck driver, a very good paying job (about $43,000) that takes the driver away from home. On average, they spend about 3 weeks a month on the road. That means they are home about 13 weeks a year. Over an 8 year span, they will spend a total of about 728 nights with their family.
Sorry, Chaffetz, but your inability to understand what it is really like to live in this country is clear. Congressmen don’t need another handout from the taxpayers, they need to do their job and support the American people. If you can’t manage to survive on $200,000 a year (almost 4 times what your constituents make), which would take at least 7 years for most Americans to make, that is a personal problem. One that could actually be solved by tightening your belt/pulling yourself up by the bootstraps/fill in Republican cliche about lazy poor people here.