You know, for all the talking points and rhetoric flying back and forth from both sides of the aisle, it can be hard for independent voters like myself to decide which of our elected officials are there to truly work for you. There doesn’t seem to be many, and even with the good ones there’s often a gray area on whether or not they really understand the struggles of middle class Americans. Then you have fools like Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey who remove any and all doubt.
Yesterday, Rep. Gingrey participated in a debate on a special exemption that would allow Capitol Hill staffers the ability to use subsidies buy into the new healthcare system when it goes into effect. Well, he apparently became enraged during the debate, and proceeded to go on a rant about how he was “stuck” making $172,000 a year while those same staffers can use their experience to go on to bigger and better lobbying careers later in life. He said, “[staffers] may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money, but in a few years they can just go to K Street and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year.”
This angered the aides in the room, who then leaked the comments to the National Review. Now I am not sure who in the room he thought would give him the pity party he feels he so obviously deserved, but with the household median income hovering around $50,000 a year — under 1/3 of his total salary — it just goes to show you how far disconnected the GOP really is when it comes to the problems that face this nation. Let’s not even get into the fact that his total net worth is said to be around $3 million.
Rep. Gingrey — and anyone else who thinks that saying something like this behind closed doors won’t leak to the public — is clearly not in tune with the American people, including those he was elected to represent. When asked by the National Review to explain his earlier comments, he made a feeble attempt at defending his position by lumping himself in with those he was arguing against. He claimed he couldn’t remember exactly what he said, but he “was engaged in a dialogue with some members of our conference who truly believe that Congress should get special treatment. And some also believe that staff members should get special treatment. I happen not to believe that.”
Nice try there, Congressman, but we aren’t buying it. We know who and what you represent, and you surely sold out long before this rant. Let’s just hope the people of Georgia make this right when the time comes for your re-election. Let’s post these quotes on the statehouse walls for all to see, because with that attitude you shouldn’t get far with poor and middle class Americans who struggle to make ends meet. We’re out here working one and sometimes two minimum wage jobs, scraping by with the bare minimum and sometimes seeking a small amount of government assistance so our families don’t go hungry (assistance, by the way, you also voted to cut by $39 billion).
I don’t care if the government subsidies for staffers are right or wrong at this point. Your words were the highlight of the debate, and will stick in the minds of anybody who reads them in print. Oh, and just to clarify for the record, you make $174,000 a year… but who’s counting, right? It’s all just stacks to you.