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Q&A: Shouldn’t we make our elected officials a lot less Comfortable?


by Raptor Alpha

Question by L.T.M.: Shouldn’t we make our elected officials a lot less Comfortable?
Congressional Perks: How the Trappings of Office Trap Taxpayers

by Peter J. Sepp

Since the founding of the Republic, Americans have had a healthy skepticism of the concentration of power. The Framers of the Constitution established a system they hoped would prevent not only the disproportionate accumulation of influence in one branch of government, but also the disproportionate accumulation of privilege.

Today, Members of the United States Congress enjoy a vast web of perquisites that benefit them personally as well as professionally, including:

Comfortable salaries that are often determined through legislative sleight-of-hand. Contrary to the arguments of many Washington “insiders,” the cost of living has rarely eroded the historical value of lawmakers’ pay, which on a constant-dollar basis is hovering near the postwar high.

Pension benefits that are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for similarly-salaried executives. Taxpayers directly cover at least 80 percent of this costly plan. Congressional pensions are also inflation-protected, a feature that fewer than 1 in 10 private plans offer.
Health and life insurance, approximately 3/4 and 1/3 of whose costs, respectively, are subsidized by taxpayers.

Wheeled perks, including limousines for senior Members, prized parking spaces on Capitol Hill, and choice spots at Washington’s two major airports.
Travel to far-flung destinations as well as to home states and districts. Despite recent attempts to toughen gift and travel rules, “junkets” are still readily available prerogatives for many Members.

A wide range of smaller perks that have defied reform efforts, from cut-rate health clubs to fine furnishings.
But the very nature of public office itself demands a more comprehensive definition of a “perk” than that normally applied to corporate America. Members of Congress can also wield official powers that allow them to continue to enjoy the personal benefits outlined above, such as:

The franking privilege, which gives lawmakers millions in tax dollars to create a favorable public image. Experts across the political spectrum have labeled the frank as an unfair electioneering tool. In past election cycles, Congressional incumbents have spent as much on franking alone as challengers have spent on their entire campaigns.

An office staff that performs “constituent services” and doles out pork-barrel spending, providing more opportunities for “favors” that can be returned only at election time.

Exemptions and immunities from tax, pension, and other laws that burden private citizens — all crafted by lawmakers themselves.

Congressional pay and perks directly add hundreds of millions of dollars to the yearly bill that Americans are forced to pay for the federal government — a significant cost for taxpayers, even if pundits dismiss the amount as a “drop in the bucket.” Yet, beyond the basic issue of dollars and cents, Congress’s perks have other pernicious effects. They distort the budget process, by diminishing lawmakers’ moral authority to say “no” to special interest spending requests and benefit boosts for other government officials. They distort the electoral process, by tilting the playing field against challengers. Most importantly, they undercut efforts for long-term economic and budget reform, by insulating Members from the real-world effects of their own policies.

American taxpayers and American government would be better served by benefits for Members of Congress that look more like incentives than perks. Enactment of proposals for a defined-contribution pension plan, a scaled-back franking privilege, a pay level tied to government efficiency, and a term-limit Constitutional amendment would help to restore balance to a system plagued by the trappings of office.

http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=343
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Keep in mind this was written in 2001. We all know it’s only gotten worse……

Best answer:

Answer by mike
So this is what the GOP is trying to protect.That means they would have to be like us yep regular people , they cant have that now can they?

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10 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - October 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm

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Becoming a flight attendant?


by Raptor Alpha

Question by Jenny**: Becoming a flight attendant?
I’m really interested in becoming a flight attendant. I am only 17 years of age, but I know that for hiring it can be anywhere from 18-21 although most prefer 21 I believe. I know that they have general guidelines and I understand what will be required of me. I’m not interested in the job because of the “perks” and travelling. I just have a real compassion for people and love serving! So, I figured it would be a good fit for me.
So! to any experienced flight attendants out there- what can I do in my interview to stand out?
-Are you required to wear your hair down/up during the flights?
-Is appearance a big factor? Find only the pretty girls are picked?
-Are mostly the people picked genuine? or have you ever worked with some real sour people?
-I am also on the shy side, will this be a limiting factor to me?
-I know the shifts are long and tedious, is there still time to excercise.. even before work?
-Lastly, do you mostly live in hotels then?

Sorry for all the questions! Thanks guys!

Best answer:

Answer by crew4jets
It’s not so much that airlines “prefer” 21, some just have different minimum ages. There are at least a dozen who will hire you at 18.

As for your questions:

If your hair is long, you will need to wear it up or held back, as you are serving food.

Appearance is not the factor is used to be decades ago. Airlines are now looking for confident, outgoing and friendly types who are reliable and dependable.

You will find all types of personalities in the airlines- some who should not have been hired, or do not have the right attitude for the job.

If you’re shy, it’s time to build your confidence and become more outgoing and personable.

As you only work about half a month on a regular schedule, you should find plenty of time to work out.

Depending on your flight schedule, you may never spend a night in a hotel, or you may spend 15 – 20 nights in different hotels.

Add your own answer in the comments!

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by - at 7:00 pm

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