Posted by: johnhourihan | July 2, 2014

Cost cutting, the GOP way

When it comes to cutting back on spending in companies, the CEO who is more often than not a Republican, downsizes the workforce and makes those left work twice as hard to pick up the slack with the admonishment of “Be happy you still have a job.”
Then they cut back on benefits of those left, such as buying a cheaper health care plan that doesn’t cover as much, has a higher co-pay and higher deductible, provides cars for fewer people, cuts the mileage allowance for employees, makes everyone work longer days with fewer vacation days and holidays, eliminates free coffee at work and company parties, fires older workers and replaces them with entry level children who will work longer for less money, and turns down the air conditioning.
I was wondering why they don’t do the same when it comes to cutting back government spending.
Shouldn’t they begin with maybe cutting back on the number of Representatives and Senators?
Currently we have 435  Representatives. That number was set in 1911. It is outdated and inappropriate for current business practices. Shouldn’t it be more like 200 or so? Maybe we could have each one double up on the number of states he or she represents?
Also we have 100 Senators. Do we really need two from each state? Wouldn’t one be less expensive and with fewer people to get involved wouldn’t decisions be made in a more expedient manner?
Then there are six non voting members, one each from the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgins Islands and American Samoa. In the Northern Mariana Islands, a delegate was elected who started in January of 2009. Puerto Rico elects a “Resident Commissioner,” and has the same roles as representatives on nonvoting members.
If they don’t vote, what are they doing for us? I say cut them altogether and appoint a 22 year old at minimum wage to oversee all of those places from his home on a laptop.
Then maybe we could cut  representatives’ pay from $175,000 to say 50,000, and cut Senators from $174,000 to, oh why not, $50,000.
Did you know that Senators get full health insurance from the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program, as well as a retirement pension administered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System. Each senator pays 1.3 percent of his gross salary into the plan, which fully vests them after five years of contributions. They are eligible for full pension benefits at the age of 50, if they have 20 years of federal employment. They may retire with a full pension after 25 years of service at any age, or at any time after the age of 62.
Screw that. They also pay into Social Security and Medicare, let them live on that when they hit 66 like the rest of us.
And while they are working, make them have the $5,000 deductible every year and the $45 co-pay so many people have or maybe tell them to get their own health care insurance or go without. No more limos and chauffeurs and registration plates paid for by the state. No more stipend to hire people to do your work for you.
Were you aware that Senators can get money to pay for administrative assistance, legislative assistance, and office expenses. For administrative and office expenses, the amount varies. The legislative allowance stood at $508,377 in fiscal year 2010. Total allowances in that year varied from $3,090,168 for Delaware senators to $4,873,149 for senators from California.
Senators are also allowed $50,000 for mass-mailing expenses.
I say we do away with that and let them do their own work. If that sounds hard-nosed, how many of you have been told the same thing at work by your boss?
No more air travel. If you have to go to Washington get on a bus like the rest of us, after we cut the pay we should freeze it for a handful of years, cut the vacations and the 6 hour days (work 60 hours like the rest of us and only get paid for 40, be on call when you are home and if you don‘t do  it you lose your job) Institute term limits to get rid of the older Senators and representatives and replace them with inexperienced children.
And shut off the air conditioning.
I remember the old cost cutter himself, George Bush telling us his idea of cutting back on spending was he was going to have his staff cut back on nonessential travel.
Not do away with unnecessary travel, but just cut back on it. I remember wondering , if it is nonessential why was anyone taking the trips in the first place?
This seems typical of how government, especially Republican government, cuts its own costs.
I think if it is “just business” when they fire a quarter of a company’s work force and make the rest work harder for lower wages and fewer benefits, shouldn’t that be the recipe for the beginnings of cutting government spending?
I want to see that plan.


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