End the Congressional Healthcare Subsidy

Let’s make a deal with Congress: Since we already pay 70% of your health care cost, you should do the same for us.

Think they’ll go for it? I didn’t either.

Let’s clear something up. Congress doesn’t get free health care. They buy health care as federal employees, same as other federal employees. The difference is that we taxpayers give them a 70% subsidy from our taxes to help pay for it. Now, half of Congress are millionaires, and the minimum salary is $174,000 per year. It’s hard to see how anyone earning this kind of money should need to receive a 70% tax subsidy. A $7000 subsidy is 4% of their pay. $7000 is some 35% of what the working poor earn.

This public tax subsidy of elected congressional representatives is the most publicly exposed of a whole series of privileges of which we are only vaguely aware. Congress lives in a bubble world where they never have to come in contact with the depressing and dirty reality of lost jobs, poverty wages, and no health care.

Consider this. Over the past two years, while income for the average American fell, while some 28,000,000 were unemployed, while half of Americans lived in poverty or near it, the net worth of Congress increased. A lot. Congressional net worth increased by 25%, which would be beyond the wildest dreams of most people with market investments.

Now, my personal opinion is that every one of these special perks that Congress has picked up, crumbs from the ultra-rich and the corporate lobbyists who represent them, should be banished forthwith. These rich politicians are supposed to be citizen-representatives. They are supposed to be just like us, otherwise how can they understand us. When they have served in government for a while, they are supposed to go back home and work like everyone else. They never do. They spend their entire working lives plying the halls of Congress and utilizing all the perks they can. They all get rich. Meanwhile, the public welfare has gotten worse and worse.

But they voted themselves these perks. Nobody gave it to them. How likely is it that they will decide to un-pay themselves these special benefits? Not very. But there is a fighting chance that they could at least be shamed into surrendering the taxpayer-financed 70% health care subsidy. What we need is pressure, lots of it. Particularly from Occupy patriots, who actually do represent the 99%, few of whom believe that taxes should be spent to support millionaires’ health care while 52,000,000 Americans have none at all.

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