Sacrifice and Spending: Congress at Work

Jenny Erikson

jenny eriksonWe are all feeling the crunch of a down economy. Even those of us that remain employed are getting pay cuts, or not getting raises to keep up with the ever-rising cost of living. Christmas bonuses? What are those again?

It seems that everyone is exchanging the steak for hamburger, dropping the cable, or camping instead of cruising.

It's what we do as Americans. We pull up our big kid pants, put our noses to the grindstone, buckle down, and plow through difficult times.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, it's hard. No, it's not fair. Life isn't fair, and no one ever said that it was. So we all sacrifice because people took out loans they could never afford to repay. We all sacrifice rather than cutting public spending for those that need it. We do what needs to be done, no matter how hard it is.

We all sacrifice ... so that our elected officials can live the life of Riley.

From July 2009 through March 2010, our elected officials in Washington spent $2.6 million on food and beverages. It must be nice to have the taxpayers buy your breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a regular basis. I wish my job or my husband's job provided that perk, rather than making us buy our own food out of the salaries we receive.

Of that $2.6 million sum, $604,000 was spent on bottled water. Don't worry though, they probably recycled the little plastic bottles.

The biggest slice of the Congressional spending report was handed to retirees. While most of us in the private sector have had our retirement accounts wiped out in the past two or three years, the Federal Employees Retirement System spent more than $80 million in benefits for retired federal employees.

This is just tip of the iceberg of what these public servants spend on perks and benefits. I'm not saying they shouldn't have access to office supplies; I'm just saying they should be aware of the hand that quite literally feeds them.

Way to go Congress. No wonder your approval ratings are in the toilet.


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