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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tea Party Congresscritters: Living the I Got Mine and Fuck You dream
Posted by Jill | 5:46 AM
Remember how Republican politicians talked about those who had lost their jobs, couldn't find new ones, and had run out of unemployment benefits? Imagine the squawking there would be among the newly-minted Tea Party congressmen and women if they were among the government workers whose paychecks will be stopped if there is a government shutdown tomorrow.

Last November, one of the first things that Maryland Republican Teabagger Andy Harris did after his election was scream that he wanted his government-paid health insurance NOW after campaigning against health care reform that would cover everyone. Imagine what he would say if his paycheck were stopped because of a shutdown due to Republican intransigence -- including his own.

Fortunately for Andy Harris and the other Teabaggers who would destroy the economic recovery, anemic as it is, solely in the interests of their own power, their own government paychecks will continue, as Nicholas Kristof notes today in a column about the Hooverites of the Tea Party:
If we careen over a cliff on Friday and the American government shuts down, hard-working federal workers will stop getting paychecks, but the members of Congress responsible for the shutdown are expected to be paid as usual.

That’s partly because Congressional pay is not subject to the regular appropriations process, and partly because of Constitutional concerns. The Senate passed a bill proposed by Barbara Boxer of California that would suspend Congressional paychecks in any government shutdown, but the Republican-controlled House has blocked it. House Republicans approved a similar pay suspension, but it was embedded in legislation that has zero chance of becoming law.

The upshot is that federal workers who do important work for the public — cleaning up toxic waste, enrolling sick people into lifesaving medical trials, answering medical hot lines, running national parks, processing passport applications — risk being sent home and going unpaid. But members of Congress would continue to receive $174,000 a year. As the humorist Andy Borowitz wrote in a Twitter message:  “That’s like eliminating the fire dept & sending checks to the arsonists.”

So the people who hate government so much that they fought like hell to get government paychecks are perfectly willing to shut down the government -- because THEY will get paid regardless, and that's all that matters, right? Just ask Andy Harris.

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