Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz wants extra housing cash for lawmakers — in the form of a $2,500 monthly stipend.
Thank goodness Chaffetz is already leaving office. Saves the trouble of drumming him out of D.C.
His request represents everything that’s wrong with Congress, with politicians in general and with the flip-flop that’s taken place in U.S. politics in recent years that’s relegated the taxpayers to the role of public servant.
Chaffetz: You work for me — for all the taxpayers.
If anyone deserves a subsidy for housing, it’s the taxpayer.
But in Chaffetz’s world, lawmakers must be a special class. Politicians, to him, are an elite breed. And therefore, they deserve what the American citizen doesn’t automatically get. How else to rationalize this?
“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” he said in an interview with the Hill. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”
His belief that lawmakers would be “better served” if taxpayers picked up their housing tabs is an egregious affront that would leave Founding Fathers spewing vitriol.
But they’re dead — so today’s taxpayer will instead have to shoulder that burden. So here are a few choice phrases to pepper at those politicians who think they deserve special funding:
No. 1, You’re elected to serve, not rule. Act like it.
No. 2: You’re an employee. The taxpayer is the boss. The boss should always, always, always make more money than the employee — unless the boss voluntarily gives up that power of the purse.
No. 3: The business of politicking is supposed to be a part-time job, not full-time. This is a limited government country. If politicking has gotten to the point where part-time work is not suitable, then it’s incumbent on those who’ve stretched the work day — the political class — to return it to its subservient, smaller-piece-of-the-pie role. It’s not incumbent on the taxpayer to accept a larger government that’s been forced — and then pay for it.
No. 4: Check your bank account and your congressional benefit package. You’ll find the taxpayer’s already padding your account with extra special pay-outs — like pension plans and airport travels and office stipends and medical offerings above and beyond what the average blue-collar, working-class American is provided.
No. 5: Where in the Constitution does it state the taxpayer ought to pick up the housing costs for congressional members? Or, for that matter, for anyone?
“Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world and I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here,” Chaffetz said. “I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington if you’re going to expect people to spend hundreds of nights a year here. … There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don’t know how healthy that is long-term.”
Suck it up.
Growing government is not the solution.
If housing is too expensive, then perhaps government can use its lawmaker abilities to reel in the regulations that make housing expensive — the environmental mandates, the permitting costs, the zoning hoops. But raising burdens on taxpayers to give members of Congress special entitlements that aren’t afforded the average Americans — the average Americans who are the bosses of the bureaucrats?
That’s a slap in the face to the taxpayer. And it’s an idea that’s only touted by those who don’t understand the power structure of our government — the fact that taxpayers are employers, politicians, the public servants. Those who don’t understand, should not be in office in the first place.
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