The myths about our Congress and a proposed amendment

Although widely circulated on the internet, it is not now, nor does it seem to have ever been true that members of Congress could retire with full pay after one term.  Lawmakers can qualify for nice pensions, but not that nice.  They might qualify for a pension of up to 80 percent of their final salary, but only after many years of service.

It is a myth (also widely circulated on the net) that members of Congress don’t pay into Social Security.  It has not been true for at least the past quarter-century.  They have paid Social Security taxes since 1984 (snopes.com: Congressional Pensions).

The claim that members of Congress would be somehow “exempt” from health care legislation is also not true, but that it isn’t true does not stop the constant flood of e-mails that make such a claim.  The claim is based on beliefs that misrepresent the House and Senate bills, neither of which exempted the lawmakers (Congress Exempt from Health Bill? | FactCheck.org).

Another myth that tends to ride the coattails of the above is the belief that Congress is exempt from many of the laws they pass.  This is a bit out of date.  In the 1980s there were news stories going after members of Congress for putting themselves “above their own laws,” as a 1988 Time magazine story put it (Above Their Own LawsTIME ).  But following the “Republican Revolution” of 1994, which put Republicans in control of both House and Senate, Congress passed the Congressional Accountability Act (PL 104-1), which applies a dozen civil rights, labor and workplace safety regulations to the legislative branch and their staff  (Lawmaker Loopholes? | FactCheck.org).

At the same time they were passing legislation to make themselves held accountable, they also continued removing barriers and restrictions imposed by regulations on the world of off-shore business practices; derivatives markets, commercial and investment banking (What Every American Needs To Remember About Deregulated Financial ).

This enabled the politician’s rich fat friends to get their hands on billions (trillions?) of dollars.  They did so by declaring huge profits that were not really there, and very large bonuses for themselves (which implies a job well done?) when in fact the implied growth and positive economic impact turned out to be bogus.  It all kind of blew up, and the economy went into the toilet back in 2007 (It’s Official: The Crash of the U.S. Economy has begun).  Whether you believe it or not, that seems to have happened before Barack Obama became President.

No doubt, it is possible (some believe probable) many senators and congressmen now have access to benefits and perks from their corporate and banking connections that you and I do not have.  These very well might include gifts of expensive consumer products (that could easily be masked to avoid having to report them); exotic travel and hospitality arrangements, and the possibility of unbelievable stock options and land deals not generally available to the public (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123483886399996643.html).  Of course I am not forgetting about what they call “campaign contributions” which we say are policed, but you and I both know it is not policed effectively (The Myth of Campaign Finance Reform > Publications > National Affairs).

It would seem to be corrupt.  In my little world, should I accept money or gifts in return for the promise of some benefit (monetary or otherwise) at the expense of an employer or the public at large, it would be called “bribery”.  The shift in congress this past election did absolutely nothing to correct, or even address this.

Occasionally, some investigative media will expose some of it, but it would be advisable to keep in mind that a good bit of the big media groups are not necessarily owned by independently hard working middle class Americans.  Isn’t it more likely that they are owned by the rich fat friends of the very politicians we expect them to keep watch over?

They watch over very little.  In fact, it might seem as if their entire agenda is to simply keep us distracted from the very truths that control our daily lives.  The so called “liberal” press from time to time points out some abuse and fraud in our welfare system, but does little to expose the double edged sword of this monster (Hidden Welfare State – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

In fact the news is often just another drug used to keep us content with the daily grind (Lack of News Stories in Summer: Mainstream Media Does Not Cover ).

The bottom line is simply this: there is no amendment pending to make congress subject to Social security (they already are); abide by health-care reform laws and other laws of the land (they already are) because the point is moot! Before a person should jump to the conclusion that whatever they have received in an e-mail is the truth, they just might want to check it out before forwarding on to dozens of their closest friends.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by little d on December 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Great attempt Van in separating fact from fiction, however, as a very wise man has stated, ” What People believe to be true, to in fact be true, is not now, nor has it ever been required ” thus what stands to truth or not remains in question, for the written is as exploitable as the minds that seek it, and once again relies upon the validation of belief for its confirmation.

    I could not think of a better scenario under which fraud, thievery, murder and ignorance could exist, than the scenario of doing so while under the belief banners of law, justice, peace and education. Despite what is, which does indeed have standing, my hopes for what will be is not diminished. The body must rest, the mind refuses.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tyler on December 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Much more poignant than Snopes.com.

    Reply

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