Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 1, 2009 / 7 Nissan 5769

Congress calling the kettle black

By Jonathan Gurwitz


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | During Rick Wagoner's tenure as CEO of General Motors from 2000 until his White House-orchestrated departure over the weekend, GM's stock lost 95 percent of its value. The company's last profitable year was 2004. Its cumulative losses since then total $82 billion — nothing compared to an Obama deficit, but not exactly chump change.


Wagoner's estimated compensation last year was almost $15 million. Under the terms of the initial GM bailout approved in December, he had agreed to a salary of only $1 this year. Now he's getting a presidential wingtip in the rear.


Say what you will about the desirability of the commander in chief making personnel decisions for semi-socialized businesses. At least the president is trying to hold some institutions and individuals on the government dole accountable.


But can you think of any other institution that continuously drains the public treasury despite dismal public approval? Can you think of a group of leaders whose compensation is completely unrelated to performance, that routinely receives pay increases while consistently failing to perform their jobs? I'll give you 535 guesses.


The current economic crisis began with failed congressional oversight of the banking, investment and government-sponsored mortgage industries. The country is in recession. Unemployment is up. The deficit and the national debt are ballooning to record levels.


In the spirit of shared sacrifice, what is Congress giving up? Nothing.


Not pork barrel spending in the so-called $787 billion stimulus package. Not wasteful earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill. And not, evidently, automatic pay increases.


Under a two-decade old system, members of Congress receive an automatic cost of living adjustment, irrespective of what's happening beyond the Capitol's dome. In 2009, lawmakers will have $4,700 added to their paychecks, lifting their salaries to $174,000.


In the real world, you have to excel to receive a raise. In Congress, you don't need to do anything. In fact in Congress, you have to work diligently to repeal the automatic pay raise racket, as Sens. David Vitter R-La., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., have tried consistently to do.


Last month, finally, they were successful in passing a measure in the Senate that would end stealth salary increases and require lawmakers to take affirmative action to raise their pay. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team opposes any change to the system of congressional payroll optimization.


When corporate executives redecorate their offices, it's called an affront to taxpayers. But when members of Congress try to spend $200 million to refurbish the National Mall, they call it a stimulus.


When Bernie Madoff bilks investors out of $65 billion, it's called the financial crime of the century. But when Social Security and Medicare face projected shortfalls in the trillions of dollars and Congress refuses to reform the payroll tax Ponzi scheme, it's called protecting seniors.


When AIG executives receive contractually obligated bonuses, it's an outrage. But when the members of Congress who are responsible for that outrage want to keep their annual pay raises on autopilot, they call it — as Nancy Pelosi did — tradition.


Wagoner, Madoff, the whole AIG crew — sure, off with their heads, Mr. President. But spare a little outrage, too, for the people leading the populist mob in Congress, some of whom should have their necks in the guillotine as well.


Clarification: A Congressional Budget Office report referenced in last week's column said the deficits from the Obama budget, not only from its spending proposals, exceed those anticipated by the White House by $2.3 trillion over 10 years

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.

Jonathan Gurwitz Archives


© 2009, Jonathan Gurwitz

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles