UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 19, 2009

BREVITAS

CRASH TALK

Chris Bowers, Open Left - In Fiscal Year 2008, the federal government allocated $153 billion on the Iraq war. While that was the most of any year since the war began, it is still less than the $170 billion the government has spent on AIG in the last six months. The $170 billion in six months is also larger than the six-month GDP of all but 26 countries in the world, according to the World Bank. The country right behind AIG expenditures in the rankings is Denmark. We could have paid the salary of everyone in Denmark for six months, and still spent less money than we spent on AIG.

Marnie Glickman, Green Change - It's not only AIG that is taking advantage of American taxpayers. Congress is too. In January, Members of Congress gave themselves a $4,700 pay raise. They now earn a princely $174,000 annual salary, plus pension and perks. Twenty years ago, Congress passed the infamous "midnight pay grab" granting itself automatic pay raises. Finally, on March 17th, the U.S. Senate voted to stop the automatic annual pay raises. However, House Democratic leaders want to keep the automatic pay raises. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he's "not for" the bill to stop the automatic pay raises, and that he "not going to commit to bringing it to the floor."

OBAMALAND

Washington Post - President Obama abandoned a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment at VA hospitals of combat-related injuries amid an outcry over the measure from veterans' service organizations and members of Congress.

GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES

Politico - Fifty-one percent of Americans think things in Iraq are going very well or moderately well, up 8 percentage points from last year. But only 38 percent say the same about Afghanistan, down 6 percentage points in just the past month. Forty-two percent of those surveyed now say the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Afghanistan, up from 30 percent earlier this year, while 53 percent say the Iraq war was a mistake, down from 56 percent in January and 60 percent last summer.

5 Comments:

Anonymous m said...

"They [Congress] now earn a princely $174,000 annual salary, plus pension and perks."

That is not an exorbitant amount for reps representing 3-500,000 in population, or senators representing a state. The real cost of such individuals is not in salaries, but in the abominable decisions that they make. Especially those driven by licit campaign bribes, and worse the illegal corruption.

I would rather see the Congress critters paid a million a year, and have their campaigns paid for if and only if they were not allowed to take anything, not even a pen or a piece of paper from anyone except their atomic families. This would be far better for the nation and the taxpayers.

Give them pensions of half a million a year and not allow them to accept remuneration or gifts under any circumstances (except from the atomic family) for the rest of their lives. The Treasury would fill quickly, and the US just might return to sound decent law.

March 20, 2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous robbie said...

Washington Post - President Obama abandoned a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment at VA hospitals of combat-related injuries amid an outcry over the measure from veterans' service organizations and members of Congress.

Obama seems to be floating a lot of trial baloons lately, only to reel them in if there's a problem. This does not bode well. Only leaders can lead.

March 20, 2009 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

"That is not an exorbitant amount for reps representing 3-500,000 in population"

Agreed. It's the 600,000 (not 300-500) that's the exorbitant part. Especially when we look at other countries.

In what sense can 1 person "represent" 600,000? I can't think of any. The only thing possible at that ratio is ruling, not representing.

March 21, 2009 11:29 AM  
Anonymous keep on tokin' said...

Speaking of veteran's graveyards, what a great name for the new Washington mall crap! But what if the veteran's maimed corpses arose and marched to the US Congress like something out of that Kipling story, The Monkey's Paw? And the Congresspersons were transformed to swine ala Ulyses ?

March 21, 2009 9:56 PM  
Anonymous fuurther said...

Sorry, W. W. Jacobs authored "The Monkey's Paw" and Ulysses is the correct typo-less spelling.

March 22, 2009 2:51 PM  

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