Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Aides Crisis

As a losing incumbent representative, certainly realities have to be faced: first is that you are a loo-oo-ser; second that thousands, even tens of thousands of people think you totally suck, and third, you are now unemployed.

But it's not all bad because you get a guaranteed pension, lifetime health-care and you can probably snag a poli-sci professorship/think-tank fellowship/radio-show/regular TV pundit gig/ weekly columnist job from which you can plot your political comeback or simply talk smack without consequence (and hopefully get a book-deal).

The real victims of anti-incumbency aren't the suddenly un-re-elected representatives, but apparently their aides who by the callous whim of a public they've tried so hard to manipulate, find themselves now de-funded, filibustered, defeated, disowned and disinhereted at the brink of Christmas like Dickensian orphans, with only their cell-phones and PDA's to keep them warm.

The Hill reports that Nancy Pelosi is working on legislation that would provide two months severance pay to any soon-to-be-unemployed congressional aides while they look for jobs after the January 4th take-over of the House. Though bi-partisan in scope, the proposed legislation of course will initially benefit only Republican staff.
(The proposal is similar to S. Res. 478--authored by Bill Frist--which provides aides to senators who have failed to be re-elected a ‘cushion’ of two months salary).

I’m sure that’s really nice of Speaker-elect Pelosi, not to mention a shrewd “under the dome” political move but I’m not sure what to make of this.

I mean, every time I found myself unemployed I’d apply for social security and have to wait three weeks before I got my first (at maximum) $375 per week check (which of course would be taxed come April 15).
So why can’t these aides do the same? It’s not as though Washington is a more expensive place to live than New York or New Jersey.

I'm all for people getting a "living wage" sufficient to allow saving a month's wages without too much hardship whilst waiting for the first dole-check to arrive when unemployment rears it's ugly head, but why should they get a "severance package" when tens of millions of Americans who provide quantifiable services and products that actually add to the economy and the national welfare, don't? What makes them so special?


Carl said...


I wholeheartedly agree. It's not like the rules against lobbying after a Hill career apply to them, and their Rolodexes carry some more weight than the guy who flips burgers at the Hill cafeteria.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

sumo said...

Gotta point there. Have a nice Thanksgiving Mr. Estate!

Snerd Gronk said...

Yes! Precisiely.

I have often felt that it is impossible to govern fairly, if you are unfairly divided from, or compartmentalized from, those you apparently represent.

If representatives' salries were somehow pegged to an 'averaged' salary of all Americans, and if their benefits were equally pegged, things would work a little differently for Joe Smuck, I think.

A friend of mine suggested they be paid upon performance, being measured on a ratio of the election promises they actually fulfilled.


Carl said...


That's a rather unrealistic viewpoint, tho. Define "average" salary? Now define what that comprises in terms of work done v. value to the nation?