Friday, July 07, 2006

LeftBlog: Happy 4th of July... Oh yah, and another thing

Greetings All,

Sorry I didn't post this earlier... but here is my Blog for this week for the Daily Advertiser. I would appriciate any comments and suggestions...

So this week I have been desperately trying to pick a topic on which to focus, there are so many these days that I can barely keep up! So I decided that I am going to hit on four topics briefly for this week’s LeftBlog, I hope you will indulge me.

Congress Set to give itself another Raise
Yep, I can’t make these kinds of things up. Congress is set to give itself another “COST OF LIVING” increase to the tune of $3,400 per year, if this were an “hourly worker” in this country that would equate to a $1.63/hr raise. Mind you, this will be the 5th year in a row that this has happened. So in the past 5 years they have voted themselves an additional $8.15/hr or $16,952.00 per year increase. Let’s look at this another way – Congress’s “performance review” is in the tank with approval ratings at near all time lows – less than 25% of Americans think they are doing a good job, yet they get a PAY RAISE? What employer does this?

All the while they still refuse to increase minimum wage. It has been over a decade since Minimum wage has been voted on. This time the Republicans are “taking it on the cheek” with this issue, so much so they agreed to schedule a vote on this in the house, however their answer – Get rid of Overtime! Yep, they are for giving a very small increase to minimum wage, but they want to do away with overtime – so much for their values.

The Democrats said “NO WAY!” Democratic Senators, led by Chuck Schumer of New York, have said there is no way this is going to happen and they are going to prevent the Congressional Cost of Living pay raise for members of congress until Minimum Wage is substantially raised.

So here is a suggestion that will solve TWO problems… if not more. Let’s tie Minimum Wage and Social Security to Congressional Raises. Currently the Social Security “CAP” on wages is limited to the first $90 thousand dollars someone earns in a year. For every dollar over $90 thousand someone makes they don’t have to pay social security taxes for that money. Why not tie this cap to Congressional Wages? The Cap for Social Security wages would then be roughly $160k per year. This would solve our issues with Social Security which will take place in two decades and likely solve this for three generations if not more.

I know our business owners will get upset about this, but perhaps then they would get upset about these raises given to Congress every year without regard to their performance. Congress has spent us into an estimated 7 TRILLION dollar deficit; they should definitely not get a raise for that. Even ENRON couldn’t get away with something like this. [Or did they???!!!]

Governor Blanco steps in again to help where FEMA fails us
It was widely reported last week that the President has refused to cover any areas on this side of the state hit by RITA for debris removal. I suppose this is a way to cut costs, refuse to do the work for months and then swoop in and say – Now since it is 10 months later, you missed out.

Governor Blanco has reached in and assured residents of the Rita ravaged southwest of our state that she would help where FEMA is letting us down yet again.

And where is our congressional leadership on this matter? Nowhere to be found. I thought that congressman Boustany campaigned on the premise that his unfettered access to the White House and to House leadership would insure that the 7th Congressional District was well represented. Yet again, the congressman has let us down.

But no worries, he is representing us well in other regards… he wants to abolish Minimum Wage… and has no problem accepting his raise. After all, he is living on a fixed income ($160,000 from the Tax Payers and over $200k in a disability insurance package, plus travel expenses and other perks) – Almost a half a million dollars a year doesn’t go as far as it used to!

Voting Rights act scrubbed for renewal
The Republicans have blocked the renewal of the landmark 1965 civil rights legislation, if not renewed in 2007 many of the provisions of this legislation will expire.

It has been widely reported that Southern Republicans, such as Congressman Charles Boustany, have been working hard to stop this renewal as it is currently written even though Boustany has signed on as a “Co-Sponsor” of the Bill.

Whatever the case is, the bottom line is that we could easily see ourselves going backwards if the Republicans do not stop playing around and renew this critical piece of legislation to assure NO voter is denied their right to vote.

And finally… Border Security/Immigration
The Bush Administration has been unable to muster even half of the 2,500 National Guardsmen it planned to have on the Mexican border by the end of June. State officials have refused to send troops due to the domestic needs stemming from the flooding in the northeast, fires in the west and the impending hurricane season here in the Gulf South.

And still there has been little progress in the House with finding a comprehensive answer to the 12 Million undocumented aliens that are estimated to be in our country.

The house Republicans are dead set against any comprehensive bill that looks at ALL angles of this issue, and now they are fighting with themselves.

As a political partisan, normally that would be funny to just sit back and watch. However lives are at stake. The Bush Administration and the Republican Leadership tout that since 9/11 there have been no other attacks on our soil and that is “no mistake.” I have to disagree.

Our ports and our borders are wide open to anyone who has the desire to get here. Are they telling us that the desire of a jihadist is less than that of a migrant worker?

All this while congress is on yet another vacation. This is definitely the “DO NOTHING CONGRESS”… they will be on vacation more this year than ever before.

But hey, they deserve it… after all things in this country are going SO WELL! So well, that they are on vacation and giving themselves a raise. Way to go Congress!

I think it is time for a change, don’t you?