Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Congressional Leaders Beware: Part II

"Could you please tell me, gentlemen, why I should trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away?" ~Col. Benjamin Martin, the Patriot

Yep, I've got a few more words regarding the utter ludicrousness in Washington right now.  In all honesty, if so many people weren't going to pay such a steep price for the handling of the nation's finances, the actions and words I'm observing would be downright hysterical - worthy of an Emmy-winning sitcom.

So the latest that I've gathered is that right after agreeing to a non-solution solution to the debt crisis, our congressional leaders have decided to go on vacation.  Ironically, they've decided to call their break early and leave several loose ends, including a bill reauthorizing the FAA to maintain 4000 employees and continue the sales tax on flights.  Now, we might enjoy the lack of added tax on our tickets ... except that most airlines are pocketing the difference rather than giving the savings to the consumer.  Meanwhile, here we are in a crisis over meeting our bills and yet they don't think it's worth it to simply reauthorize one revenue-raking sales tax?  Never mind the 4000 employees who are left stranded - belying all the talk about creating American jobs.

Meanwhile, someone mentioned something to me about our leaders dining on surf-and-turf while telling us to suck it up.  Hmm.  Time for some investigation.  OK, so maybe not steak and lobster, but they certainly didn't bat an eye at catering their lunches on taxpayer dime. Over $600K went into bottled water alone for our reps (so much for sustainability).  But can we really be surprised when Members are allotted a an annual discretionary budget of $1.4-2 million apiece?

On top of all this I've learned that our president has set a re-election campaign budget of  $1 Billion.  Um. Just. Wow.  I don't know about you, but I'd be a lot more impressed if he cut that budget to minimalist travel expenses and donated the balance to a cause that serves a broad spectrum of his countrymen.  Put it back into Medicare.  Or Social Security.  Or since our First Lady is so concerned about both sustainability and obesity in America, why not pour it into a grant for local CSA's (that's Community Supported Agriculture, for those of you not familiar with the acronym). 

I confess, I've had serious doubts about the common sense of our leaders for some time now.  For example, they preach sustainability, yet their idea of low-environmental impact is apparently high-financial impact.  Suggesting that everyone should be able to afford a hybrid vehicle in a decade?  Only if they bring the costs down.  And why must it use pricey technology in order to be "green" anyways?  I had a 1989 Geo Metro ... that thing got 50 miles to the gallon and was cheap to maintain.  Sure, it didn't have a lot of power, but it never failed emissions tests!  And it handled freeway speeds and bad weather remarkably well.  In '89 it cost about $5K brand new; so today a comparable vehicle would probably sell for twice that.  But still ... with a median income of $46K, what do you think is more accessible to the average American?  $10K or $25K (the cost of a Prius)?  Yet for some reason, no one seems interested in reviving old-school, economical gas-efficient, low-emission technology.  It really makes you wonder ...

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